Exhibition Tour: Beads as Markers of Memory
Wednesday, November 29 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Experience Radical Stitch through the eyes of bead artist and researcher Melissa Twance, a place where beadwork is alive with memory and storytelling.
Artist Bio: Melissa Twance is a beadwork artist from Netmizaagamig Nishinaabeg. Her beadwork designs pay homage to Northwestern Ontario and traditional Anishinaabe iconography with infusions of contemporary and pop culture aesthetics. She has exhibited her work in group exhibitions including the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and the Ontario Craft Council Gallery. Melissa is currently completing her PhD in Education. Her dissertation research examines the knowledge embedded in Anishinaabe bead, quill, and hide work, reflecting on the value of learning with and through creative land-based practices. Melissa is also a Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg.
RADICAL STITCH IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT EXHIBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY INDIGENOUS BEADING ACROSS NORTH AMERICA EVER PRESENTED.
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:
Joyce Growing Thunder
Babe & Carla Hemlock
Elias Not Afraid
Alesia & Farlan Quetawki
Dyani White Hawk
Kenneth Williams Jr.
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.
“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