Sculptures Reflect on Conversations with the Rock Grandfather

    "The Hunter", "Big Bear is Right" and "The Eaglechild" form a dynamic outdoor sculpture exhibition called “Indigenous Methodology and the Rock Grandfather” that can be seen until June 2018.

    June 18, 2018


    The University of Alberta respectfully acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.

    The “Quad” is an important place on the University of Alberta campus. In addition to being a major thoroughfare to various buildings, it is an important place of conversation, reconciliation and of healing.

    This becomes even more relevant with the latest installations of three sculptures that are on loan to the University of Alberta by the artist, Stewart Steinhauer, for a temporary exhibition. Steinhauer has offered the University the opportunity to display several of his major pieces for one year.  The purpose of the one-year loan is to spark discussions on our North Campus.

    The Hunter, Big Bear is Right and The Eaglechild form a dynamic outdoor sculpture exhibition called “Indigenous Methodology and the Rock Grandfather” that can be seen until June 2018.

    Steinhauer, is an Indigenous granite carver from Saddle Lake Cree Nation in north-east Alberta. He believes he works as an assistant to a Cree cultural entity, a force called the Rock Grandfather, who lives in the skin on Mother Earth.

    “The Rock Grandfather’s role in this world is to help fragile humanity with the process of communication,” wrote Steinhauer. “Humans struggle with communication. The Rock Grandfather uses a non-linguistic approach to communication, speaking directly, consciousness to consciousness, bypassing language altogether.”

    These three granite sculptures will be visible in the south-end of Quad and will help present a glimpse into the story-telling conversation of the Rock Grandfather and will reflect the continued efforts of the University to work toward a respectful, meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.  

    These loaned sculptures are in addition to three Steinhauer sculptures that the University of Alberta already has in the University of Alberta Art Collection (Sweetgrass Bear (north campus) and a smaller version of Sweetgrass Bear (Enterprise Square)) which were installed and unveiled in 2016. A new Steinhauer acquisition to the University of Alberta Art Collection titled Old Broken Number One was also recently installed on the Augustana campus in Camrose, Alberta.

    Click here for photos and more information on these sculptures