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

Curated by Wahsontiio Cross, Assistant Curator, Touring Indigenous Projects, Ottawa Art Gallery

 

 

Wrapped in Culture is a collaborative project that brings together ten Indigenous artists from Australia and Canada. Full details are on the project’s website: https://wrappedinculture.ca/. Working over the course of three weeks in November 2017, the artists created contemporary versions of an Australian Aboriginal possum skin cloak and a Blackfoot buffalo robe. This revives two culturally distinct, yet similar, artistic traditions that were used historically for both sacred and practical purposes. The artists worked collectively to complete the pieces from start to finish, including the design, construction and implementation, while visitors were invited to join in and learn about the history of these two culturally significant textiles. The robe and cloak are also objects that hold deeper meaning related to the identities of the artists, the significance of family and place, and the importance of intercultural exchange; creating kinship and understanding through the acts of making, sharing, and teaching.

The exhibition will feature the robe and cloak, each suspended from the ceiling, along with twenty color photographs by Rosalie Favell (one of each participant artist in each garment). Because of the tactile nature of the pieces, both the fur side and the skin side will be visible.

Wrapped in Culture WEBSITE

Adrian Stimson – Photo: Rosalie Favell

Maree Clarke – Photo: Rosalie Favell

In traditional use, these garments convey the wearer’s identity, so the imagery that has been etched, painted and beaded onto the skins tells the story of the artists’ journeys and the places that they come from. With the possum cloak, for example, there are times when the wearer will keep the skin side (with images) inside, showing only the fur side to others; and during other events, the skin side may be worn on the outside, conveying the wearer’s story. Favell’s photographs depict each of the artists wearing the cloak and the robe, conveying each of their ownership in the textiles and breathing life into the garments by asserting Indigenous ways of thinking about art that goes beyond its aesthetic and material values

ARTISTS:
Left to right: Kerri Clarke, Maree Clarke, Molly Mahoney, Mitch Mahoney, Adrian Stimson (seated), Meryl McMaster, Barry Ace (seated), Rosalie Favell, Wade Mahoney, Vicki West.
Photo by Justin Wonnacott
We acknowledge the support of the

 

 

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.
We acknowledge the support of the