May 20 – October 10, 2021
Joeann Argue, Crystal Behn-Dettieh, Nathalie Bertin, Cynthia Boehm, Sheryl Boivin, Dianne Brown-Green, Teresa Burrows, Lisa Carlin, Michel Dumont, Isabella Falashoka, Eliza Firth, Marcy Friesen, Amanda Hageman (Burke), Jessica Hiebert, Vanessa Hyggen, Christina Kappas Dufrene, Marlene Kelly, Don Kwan, Lynette La Fontaine, Marsha Lafferty, Erik Lee, Sherry Lickers, Candace Longjohn-Constant, Brandi Murray, France Poliquin, Carolina Reis, Naomi Smith, Lisa Shepherd, Taalrumiq (Christina King), Terri Thomas, Cheryl Trudeau, Louise Vien
“Why am I not seeing beaded masks anywhere?” It was a question that Métis artists Nathalie Bertin and Lisa Shepherd both pondered in April 2020. The coronavirus pandemic was affecting people around the world, and they wanted to explore how traditionally crafted masks were being used as a way of expressing this time. Inviting artists to design beaded masks emerging from their experiences as they navigated changing COVID-19 conditions, they launched a Facebook group simply called “Breathe.” to facilitate image sharing. Within two weeks membership had grown to over 1500.
The second touring exhibition emerging from the Breathe. project, this iteration includes 44 masks that speak to both cultural resilience and strength of community in the face of a pandemic. Acknowledging the global impact of the virus, the initiative has encompassed the mask designs of any artist working with traditional beadwork techniques as well as an array of other materials and methods, creating space for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists.
Interactive Tour | Enter the exhibition >
AGG’s interactive tours are presented with the support of the 2020 City of Guelph Emergency Fund.
Sewing Resilience: A conversation on Breathe.
Thursday, July 8, 2021 | 6:30pm
“Why am I not seeing beaded masks anywhere?” It was a question that Métis artists Nathalie Bertin and Lisa Shepherd both pondered in April 2020. The coronavirus pandemic was affecting individuals around the world, and they wanted to explore how traditionally crafted masks were being used as a way of expressing responses to this period of risk and isolation. Launching a Facebook group simply titled “Breathe.” to facilitate image sharing, they invited both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to design masks based on their experiences of frustration, contemplation, and optimism.
Join Art Gallery of Guelph Director Shauna McCabe alongside Bertin and Shepherd as well as artists Teresa Burrows, Christina King, Don Kwan, and Naomi Smith as they reflect on how resilience can be redefined through collective artmaking. Together they will discuss the varied creative approaches to the masks on view in the exhibition, exploring how the activation of craft in a shared digital space can promote generative spaces and processes of communal healing in the 21st century.
(Click to view)
Image detail: Naomi Smith (Chippewas of Nawash), Oh, Let Me Be Free…, 2021, glass beads, crystals, vintage glass, cotton velveteen, deer hide, cotton sheeting, fabric foundation, metal pieces, beading thread. Collection of the artist.