1080 Keewatin St,
Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 6T7

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Beading is one of the defining mediums of contemporary Indigenous art on this continent, and this landmark exhibition brings much-needed critical attention to the breadth and impact of this practice.

Radical Stitch looks at the contemporary and transformative context of beading through the aesthetic innovations of artists and the tactile beauty of beads. Beading materials and techniques are rooted in both culturally informed traditions and cultural adaptation, and function as a place of encounter, knowledge transfer, and acts of resistance. Connecting to a tradition of making, exercised over thousands of years, this skill-based practice ties one artist to another, past to present and beyond.

The exhibition includes a range of work from the customary to the contemporary, with a variety of approaches, concepts, and purposes. Gathering together top artists from across North America/Turtle Island, the selected pieces exemplify the current and future directions of some of the most exciting and impressive practices. The works in Radical Stitch invite viewers to immerse themselves in the political, creative, and aesthetic dimensions of beadwork.

Hemlock, Babe & Carla Continuing the Legacy, 2015, cradleboard with beaded mossbag. Collection of the artist. Photo by: Don Hall, courtesy of the MacKenzie Art Gallery.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery is thrilled to bring this large-scale exhibition to our northern city, a regional hub with a thriving community of bead workers. Artists from Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation are included in an exceptional list of talent.

Ruth Cuthand, Brain Scan Series, glass beads, thread, backing, Mackenzie Art Gallery, 2022. Indigenous Art Collection, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. Photos by: Don Hall, courtesy of the MacKenzie Art Gallery.

Installation view, Radical Stitch, Mackenzie Art Gallery, 2022. Photos by: Don Hall, courtesy of the MacKenzie Art Gallery.

Teri Greeves, NDN Art, 2008. Size 13 cut beads, glass beads, brain-tanned deer hide, cotton. Courtesy of Ellen and Bill Taubman. Photos by: Don Hall, courtesy of the MacKenzie Art Gallery

Artists included in this exhibition:

Barry Ace

Marcus Amerman

Judy Anderson

Kristen Auger

Kaylyn Baker

Christi Belcourt

Catherine Blackburn

Katherine Boyer

Marcia Chickeness

Hannah Claus

Ruth Cuthand

Marcy Friesen

Teri Greeves

Joyce Growing Thunder

Justine Gustafson

Babe & Carla Hemlock

Bev Koski

Jennine Krauchi

Jean Marshall

Audie Murray

Nadia Myre

Margaret Nazon

Shelley Niro

Elias Not Afraid

Jamie Okuma

Sandra Okuma

Taqralik Partridge

Alesia & Farlan Quetawki


Samuel Thomas

Olivia Whetung

Dyani White Hawk

Kenneth Williams Jr.

Nico Williams

Will Wilson

Radical Stitch is organized and circulated by the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Curated by Sherry Farrell Racette, Michelle Lavallee, and Cathy Mattes.

The MacKenzie recieves ongoing support from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture, City of Regina, and Saskatchewan Arts Board. Tour Supported by Canada Council for the Arts. Funded by the Ontario Arts Council.

Thunder Bay Art Gallery Presenting Sponsor

Thunder Bay Art Gallery Presenting Sponsor Brook McIlroy

“I’m really excited [Radical Stitch] is going to Thunder Bay because I feel it’s such a receptive audience. It’s so right that the exhibition is going there — it’s such a centre for many things. The Thunder Bay Art Gallery has been a leader in promoting and including Indigenous artists, especially artists from the region, for so long. They have such a strong history of that. I’m so excited for what [the art gallery] is going to do with it. […] They’re so tuned in to all the nuances because they work with the community all the time.”

– Sherry Farrell Racette