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The Original 6 Nations Peace Treaty

Quentin “Que Rock” Commanda
Artist Statement

The Original 6 Nations Peace Treaty:
A Visual Healing Art Experience

Visual land acknowledgement (June 2021)
Spray paint on vinyl


This mural is meant to be a visual healing experience.  The seven rings around Grandfather Sun represent the seven Grandfather teachings of the Anishnaabe people: Wisdom, Love, Humility, Respect, Honesty, Courage, and Truth.  There are many layers of sacred geometry patterns on the mural.

The skyline includes the medicine wheel teachings, Grandmother Moon and the thirteen grandmother clan systems.  The turtle shell represents North America’s creation story, the thirteen full moons per year, and the seven grandfather teachings.

The entire mural also represents the original Peace Treaty of the Six Nations on Turtle Island (North America).  The story of the Six Nations Treaty starts with the original five Nations of Turtle Island: the Plant Nation, the Insect Nation, the Bird Nation, the Fish Nation, and the Animal Nation.  All five Nations had to agree to let the Human Nation live here on Mother Earth.  All five Nations agreed to be humanities teachers and the Human Nation was invited to share the land.

The Human Nation was given instructions of how to live on Mother Earth, walk gentle on Mother Earth, learn one new thing every day, and share with one another.  These are some of the original instructions given to the Anishnaabe people.  The bear represents a Medicine Clan.  The Mukwa (bear) is a healer, it is the only animal who communicates with all Six Nations.

The bottom panel represents my story from the past, present, and future. The first character with the microphone is the future and present me.  The second character represents my past as a native child with my dog Miangun and the path of healing I have taken to decolonize myself back to the Anishnaabe child I was born to be.

My mother is a residential school survivor and so was my father.   I am no different than the 215 children found in Kamloops, BC.  I survived to tell you this story and share my experiences.  My community is still here and so am I.

The Artist is from Nbiising or Nipissing First Nation, his traditional name is Manitou Nemeen (Spirit Dancing) and he is from the Miangun Dodem (Wolf Clan).

The orange background on the mural represents the missing/murdered Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.

To learn more about the artist and his work, follow Quentin Commanda’s Instagram @que_rock_

What is a creative space?
Who is it for?
What could we experience there?
How could it change us?

TO Live has embarked on a quest to unleash debate.

To get things started, we have commissioned artists who have inspired us to create a digital provocation, because whatever STLC NEXT is to be, we want it to be a place for inspiration.

So, we are asking questions.

We are listening.

What If We Got Back Together?

About WORKac

WORKac was founded in 2003 by principals Amale Andraos and Dan Wood. Together, Andraos and Wood lead the 15-person New York based firm.

WORKac creates architecture and strategic planning concepts at the intersection of the urban, the rural and the natural, embracing reinvention and collaborating with other fields to rethink architecture ‘in the world.’ WORKac is dedicated to work in the public realm and in the arts. Andraos and Wood hold unshakable lightness and polemical optimism as a means to move beyond the projected and towards the possible, an ambition with which they approach every project.

WORKac was named the #1 design firm in the US by Architect Magazine and was selected as the AIA New York State “Firm of the Year.” WORKac has achieved international acclaim for projects such as the Edible Schoolyards in Brooklyn and Harlem, a public library for Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, the Miami Museum Garage and the new Student Success Center at the Rhode Island School of Design. Current projects include the Beirut Museum of Art in Lebanon, a Public Library for Boulder, Colorado, and a new 800-seat flexible theater for Virgin Cruises.

Amale Andraos is also the Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Andraos has previously taught at numerous institutions including Princeton, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the American University in Beirut.

Dan Wood, FAIA, teaches at Columbia University and was the Frank Gehry distinguished visiting professor at the University of Toronto. He was previously the Louis I. Kahn Chair at Yale and has taught at MIT, Princeton, Cooper Union, Ohio State, and UC Berkeley, where he was the Friedman Distinguished Chair.