Have you ever heard of “Powwowstep?” How about Supaman, a First Nations dancer and hip-hop artist? The Martha Redbone Roots Project? Me neither, until today. That’s part of the power of Tepkik, a new visual art installation at Brookfield Place. The installation, created by artist Jordan Bennett, brings First Nations cultures to Downtown Manhattan through Native-inspired art alongside three musical acts in the nearby Waterfront Terrace.
Bennett, a Canadian First Nations visual artist, created Tepkik as an expression of his native Mi’kmaq culture. He was inspired to create Tepkik by the Mi’kmaq language, in which “tepkik” means “night.” The double curve design hangs above a staircase in the middle of Brookfield Place, its bright colors and designs draw from traditional Mi’kmaq art. He draws on historical references to the land, sky, and our galaxy, especially the Milky Way, using color, interpretation of patterns and shapes, and use of material. He incorporated 3M Diamond Grade reflective on aluminum, as well as printed polysilk fabric to show the ebb and flow of time, the motif of storytelling, and the importance of perspective.
The three-concert series surrounding Tepkik began on July 11th with the Martha Redbone Roots Project and will continue on July 25th and August 8th with performances by DJ Shub and Supaman, two other First Nations musical artists. More information is available at Brookfield Place’s website.