Last week saw a Portage la Prairie artist's latest body of work open at the Ashukan Cultural Space in Montreal.

Fifteen renderings of Carmen Hathaway's digital creations are displayed there until the end of the month.

It's titled “From Smoke To Cyber Signals”, and Hathaway says the aim is to explore smoke signals, as portrayed in popular culture.

“And the visuals that can manifest in smoke forms,” she says, “I see smoke as an analogy for transitions, so the cliché smoke signals, transitioning to the ones and zeroes in binary code, is the idea behind this.”

Five of the 15 works on display at Ashukan

Ashukan's Special Projects and Events Director Melina Tsigounis explains their mandate is promoting indigenous artists.

“To raise public awareness,” she says, “To to break stereotypes, to create a cross-cultural dialogue. It's to include indigenous artists in the urban centre in the cultural landscape.”

Ashukan isn't far from her family's first home in the city. She says her memories of that time bring appreciation for being able to share her art there.

“At the World's Fair – Montreal's Expo '67, in 1967 – the inspiration of Le Paradis Fantastique exhibition at the France Pavilion, set the tone for the direction my life would take.”

Tsigounis describes the work as one of kind, combining traditional with contemporary.

“It questions communication modes, memory, vision, and experience of indigenous people,” she points out, “But in a very positive and contemporary way.”

Hathaway talks about the combination of themes.

“It's about moving forward,” she stresses, “Respect of tradition, with an eye to the future. I don't make distinctions.”

Hathaway suggested she attend last week's opening via Skype. It's something Tsigounis calls a perfect fit.

“People were not expecting to see her,” she notes, “So it was kind of a fun surprise during the event. And I think it's maybe something we will try to do in other exhibitions, because it worked well.”

The exhibit runs until September 1st.

The exhibit poster