Artist: Joi Arcand

This sign is written in Cree syllabics and was created in solidarity with all nations defending their lands against colonial occupation and to acknowledge that all lands are Indigenous.

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The Project

The words remind us to “Never Surrender,” which is also the title of a song by Corey Hart:

Sign written in Cree syllabics on brick wall
“Never Surrender” by Joi Arcand

“And when the night is cold and dark

You can see, you can see light

No one can take away your right

To fight and to never surrender

To never surrender

The time is all you’re asking for

Stand your ground, never surrender

I said

You never surrender”

The sentiment is displayed as a monumental, bright pink sign so that it cannot be missed while simultaneously asserting the presence of Indigenous language on the urban landscape. The work continues my exploration of creating objects “out of time” by translating a well-known 1980s Canadian pop song into the Cree language and recontextualizing the lyrics as an anthem of Indigenous sovereignty.

The Artist

Joi T. Arcand is an artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory, currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario. Arcand’s practice includes photography, digital collage, and graphic design, and is characterized by a visionary and subversive reclamation and indigenization of public spaces through the use of Cree language and syllabics. In 2018, Arcand was shortlisted for the prestigious Sobey Art Award.