top of page

TW: Discussion of Residential Schools


Hunted is a piece representing a story my Dad told me of his Grandmother Mabel. This piece was created in my second semester of my second year of the Indigenous Visual Culture program (INVC) at OCAD University. In this class my professor pushed us to be vulnerable and tap into our ancestral connections. This was incredibly difficult for me as I have always felt so disconnected from my heritage. 


Being vulnerable as an artist is something I don't find very easy. I often try to cover up my emotions or pretend a painting is about something it's not. Or I just put up a big enough wall that I don't even let it come out in my work. I am trying to unlearn this and trying to trust the process. 


Every time I go to write about this painting I get worked up and overthink myself out of what I want to say. There are so many layers to this and I feel like I can never do it justice. 


This painting started as a representation of a story my Dad told me. One time my Great Grandmother Mabel was canoeing and began to be shot at. She was shot at because she was Native. She was hunted like an animal because someone wanted to make it clear they didn't want her here. This was just a story on a mountain of other awful things she had experienced. From a young age until the age of 18 she attended the Mush Hole also known as The Mohawk Institute residential school. She witnessed horrible things during her time there and was expected to be a normal, functioning member of a colonized society. A society she had been taught didn't want her the way she was. 


The imagery you see in this piece is a mirrored imaged of a single deer antler that used to hang in her house. This antler now hangs above my bed. I have been told I carry Mabel's spirit so this imagery represents our connection and reflection of souls. The bullet holes you see represent the trials, struggle and trauma she experienced that wounded and scarred her. The beadwork you see coming out of the holes shows her legacy; it represents me, my brother, my Dad, & his Dad. We are all bound together by Mabel's resiliency. It is the reason I am able to relearn language and teachings, attend powwows and continue to create artwork that represents my Haudenosaunee heritage. 


I am no where close to knowing everything about my culture but I am trying to learn. I recognize I need to honour the other half of myself which is my Scottish heritage, my Mother's side. Identity is such a strange thing.


This is all I can share for now. You may see more pieces like this from me in the future.



End of Innocence. 16 x 20 inches. Printed on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Paper. Signed by Kennady Rayn. Numbered Edition of 20. 


    bottom of page