PUSHING BOUNDARIES CityScape community artspace

Finding Our Place: Beading and Weaving our Culture Together

Guest Curator: Adele ᒪᐢᑿᓱᐏᐢᑵᐤ Arseneau

Participating Artists: Adele ᒪᐢᑿᓱᐏᐢᑵᐤ Arseneau, Nathalie Bertin, Naomi Bourque, Salisha Old Bull, Melody Markle, Michelle Sound

There is medicine in every fibre woven, every stitch made and every bead placed. The intentionality of these acts reminds us of how we are all connected and that even the smallest details have a place and are required. These teachings help connect us with our identity, our families, our history, and our strength in navigating current society. Like the fibres spun together, we are stronger when we find our place in community and as the beads in a mosaic, we can shine when we are placed in the right situations.

Curator's Statement.

Finding Our Place: Beading and Weaving our Culture Together is an example of living culture.

Part of the purpose of this exhibition is to relocate Indigenous culture, particularly weaving and beading, in the now.

Adele ᒪᐢᑿᓱᐏᐢᑵᐤ Arseneau

The impacts of the genocidal purpose of Residential “schools” are widespread, beyond society’s capacity of knowing. These 10 tihkinâkan ekwa wâspison (cradle board with mossbags) are the first of 161 pieces representing each individual institution engaged by the Canadian government to carry out its purpose of “removing the Indian from the child” as listed in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. This initial offering names a school from each province who participated in these acts.

With the reclamation of the lost children through ground penetrating radar at these sites, the incredulous reaction of societal acknowledgment of these atrocities indicates the lack of education within its population. It is my hope and desire these little babies find their way home back into the hearts of the people who reside on these lands. Their stories no longer lost but acknowledged and passed along to each person to give them a chance to live once again.

This is personal, my grandparents and my mom were/are Residential “school” survivors. I invite each person affected by Residential “schools” to participate in this journey with me in making cradle board babies for our own inner child and healing. Let’s show the real and continued impact this has in the world and our lives. Please connect with me to find out how you can participate.

Kininaskometin/Maarsii/Mussi cho.

Adele ᒪᐢᑿᓽᐃᐢᑵᐤ Arseneau is a disabled, multidisciplinary Nehiyaw/Metis artist living and working on the traditional, unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Displaced from her family’s traditional territory of Northern Saskatchewan, Adele grew up with the Dakelh (Carrier) people of British Columbia in Prince George, and Fraser Lake.

Adele ᒪᐢᑿᓽᐃᐢᑵᐤ Arseneau, Find Them All - 10 of 161 Cradle board with Mossbag Babies (2021), Detail

Installation View: Adele ᒪᐢᑿᓽᐃᐢᑵᐤ Arseneau, Find Them All - 10 of 161 Cradle board with Mossbag Babies (2021), Acrylic, hand carved alder, steam bent bamboo, home tanned deer hide, commercial moose hide, sinew, Miyuki beads, antique and vintage beads, 8" x 6" each, $350 each

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Nathalie Bertin

Stories and tales are a part of childhood. Parents will often tell us a bedtime story as we lay with our heads on our pillows, listening to their soothing voice as we are lulled to sleep. In Ojibway and Metis tradition, stories are meant for entertainment but also to instill practical knowledge. Moccasins are another traditional item that warm our feet but also connect us to the earth. During special occasions, we are often gifted new, hand-made moccasins with special beadwork that signifies the event to keep us grounded in life. Tales and traditional dress make up a large part of the Métis culture. Named the “Moccushion©”, the physical construction of these cushions is based on the Metis moccasin design. What would normally be the vamp is now the top of the cushion which interprets the story with beads.

Nathalie Bertin is a multi-disciplinary artist from Toronto, Ontario, Canada with documented roots in Michilimackinac & Nipissing. She is of Métis, French, Anishinaabe and Omàmiwininiwak (a.k.a. Algonquin) ancestry. Bertin is a member of the Waawaashkeshi (Deer Clan). Nathalie’s art takes many forms, including beadwork which combines traditional designs from her various ancestries, as well as silk embroidery, quillwork, fish scale art and illustration work. Nathalie has created and curated several community centred exhibitions which speak to notions of care, community, compassion and understanding with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Nathalie Bertin, The Hunter & The Wolves (2021), Miyuki Beads, Bugle Beads, Quills, Pipe Bone, Wolf Fur, Wolf, Teeth, Moose Hide, thread, 12" x 12", Not for Sale

Nathalie Bertin, Community Spread (2020), Seed Beeds, Tatted Lace, Cotton fabric, Moose hide, Beaver Fur, thread, 14" x 14", Not for Sale
Nathalie Bertin, Confession of a Loup Garou (2019), Mixed media: Delica Beads, Drop Beads, Glass Beads, Bugle Beads, Miyuki Beads, Antique Pearl Beads, Swarovski Crystal, Swarovski Pearl, Canine Teeth, Pipe Bone, Deer Split Hide, Wolf Fur, Stroud, 13" x 13", Not for Sale
Nathalie Bertin, In Memory of Jeanne Couc-dit-Lafleur (2019), Mixed media: Velvet, Ribbon, Glass Beads, Swarovski Pearls, Swarovski Crystals, Firepolished Hematite, upcycled Virgin Lambswool, Deer hide, thread and artificial sinew, 12" x 12", Not for Sale

Connect with more of Nathalie's artwork:

Naomi Bourque

Naomi is inspired by the land: its organic shapes, colours, and textures, along with its literal offerings – the landscape, the flora, the fauna, and the animals that inhabit it. She has always been inspired by her cultural heritage and the traditional art and clothing that represents the indigenous people near and far from where she comes from; that being the Mackenzie Delta of the Northwest Territories. Growing up on Latham Island in Yellowknife surrounded by the water of the Great Slave Lake, and spending childhood summers on the Deh Cho (Mackenzie River) at her grandparent’s camp, has gifted to her love and appreciation for the beauty of the wild, the endearment of wide-open spaces.

Naomi Bourque was born and raised in Yellowknife, NT of Gwich’in and Métis descent, which inspires an earthy, organic approach to her work. Blending traditional materials with contemporary techniques allows Naomi to pay homage to her cultural heritage, whilst giving her work a distinctive edge.

Naomi completed the Jewellery and Small Object Design Program in 2013 at the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, BC; and the Sculptural Metal Program at Kootenay School of the Arts in 2015. She currently resides in Nelson, BC.

Naomi Bourque, Axes & Blueberries (2021), Home-tanned moose hide, delica and charlotte beads, porcupine quills, 4" x 2.5", $450

Installation View: Naomi Bourque, After The Fire (2021), Backed with home-tanned Caribou hide, edged with vintage beads & 24K charlottes, sterling silver earwires. Embellished with carved and polished muskox horn, 3.5" x 2", $485
Naomi Bourque Bring Cash (2021) Home-tanned deer hide harvested in BC, charlottes, 24K, faceted Peridot & 24K charlottes. Embellished with sliced and sanded BC deer antler slices, sterling silver earwires 5" x 2" SOLD
LEFT: Naomi Bourque, Green to Gold (2021), Caribou antler sliced, carved, sanded, and pierced, inner-edged with vintage Venetian gold silver lined beads, and green seed beads, sterling silver earwires, 4" x 2" $195 RIGHT: Naomi Bourque, Salmon Eggs (2021), BC deer antler sliced, carved, sanded, & Pierced. Semi Precious Coral along with Vintage Venetian Burnt Orange White Heart Beads. Embellished with Abalone Diamond Beads, 4” x 1.2", $195
Installation View RIGHT: Naomi Bourque, Bella's Graduation Stole, Embellished with Caribou antler slices, The Gwich’in are Caribou People. Home-tanned elk & moose hide. Backed with Cow Leather. Edging Stitched on with Vintage Venetian Beads, 27" x 11", Not for Sale. LEFT Nathalie Bertin's, Moccushions©

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Salisha Old Bull

I enjoy an array of mediums in artistry, but I have an affinity to flat-stitch beadwork. I am motivated by the Salish history and Indigenous place-based knowledge. I have learned that place gives a sense of self and allows a person to grow intellectually and continue to explore their possibilities in life. I feel that cultural preservation is a strong influence in my life, and I enjoy combining imagery that reflects cultural values. I use beadwork as an expression of the nature that reflects my tribal heritage. My craftsmanship cannot be possible without the upbringing and teaching of my grandmother, Rachel Arlee Bowers.

I am Salish and Apsaalooke and I was raised by my mother on the Flathead Indian Reservation, in Western Montana. My grandmother, and aunt had a large part in teaching me Salish values. I grew up admiring everything from the Salish cultural heritage. I also incorporate what I've learned from my Apsaalooke (Crow) background. I will strive to continue to practice our traditional lifeways throughout the seasons and pass them onto my children. This strong tie to our ways has allowed me to explore my love of art and integrate the love of Indigenous life into my work.

Salisha Old Bull, Chmtews’ Cradleboard (2014), Detail

Installation View: Salisha Old Bull (from left to right) Qwasqwi, Storm, Five Friends & the Canoe (2021), Inshiyetkw's Cradleboard (2011), Chmtews’ Cradleboard (2014)
Salisha Old Bull, Inshiyetkw's Cradleboard (2011), Size 11 seed charlotte beads and nylon thread on pelon stabilizer. Board constructed of brain-tanned buckskin white hide and wood, 41" x 15" x 7", Not for sale
Salisha Old Bull, Qwasqwi, Storm, Five Friends & the Canoe (2021), Size 13 charlotte cut beads. Constructed pelon stablizer, Teton trade cloth, brain-tanned bucksin, Czech glass beads, bells, and dyed leather, 19" x 7.5" x 3.5", Not for sale
Salisha Old Bull, Qwasqwi, Storm, Five Friends & the Canoe (2021), Detail

Connect with more of Salisha's work

Melody Markle

Melody’s current traditional art form is a practice she incorporates to reclaim her Anishinaabe teachings and culture. Weaving and braiding sweetgrass is one of the ways she expresses a connection to the land around her. Her work infuses traditional forms into patterns with deep spiritual and historical meaning in Anishinaabe culture. The sweetgrass hat is created and designed using natural elements like porcupine quills, leather, birch bark, sinew, and sweetgrass. Melody chose a sweetgrass to symbolize her Nokomis (grandmother’s summer hat) to share the story of how we need to honour our Mother Earth and give thanks to the plant medicines that she provides. Melody’s creations are often inspired by her Anishinaabe stories and teachings that continue to keep her grounded in where she comes from and hopes to pass along her knowledge and techniques to the next generation.

Melody Markle is an Algonquin Anishinaabe artist from Long Point, Winneway First Nation. For generations, her family has shared their artistic gifts through both traditional and contemporary forms, using Woodland style inspired by nature and the land. She often incorporates both traditional and contemporary materials into her art. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work at Ryerson University. Presently, Melody is exhibiting her Star Quilts at the Deer Lake Gallery show called, “"tântê ê-wî-itohtêyahk" which means wayfinding. Melody has exhibited her artwork in “Moving Through lines” at Seymour Art Gallery.

Melody Markle, Honouring our Mother (2019), Birchbark, sweetgrass, porcupine quills, 5" x 7" x 7", $1,100

Melody Markle, In Unity (2019), Hand sewn 100% cotton, 82" x 82", Not for sale
Installation View

Michelle Sound

The untitled works in progress are large photocopies of archival images that have been ripped and reworked with different materials. The two images are part of a larger series that are currently works in progress, the two images include my reserve/territory and pages from a Cree language book, These images contain loss, grief, longing and memory. The images are ripped to show the colonial violence that my family, and other Indigenous families, have experienced including residential school intergenerational trauma, loss of language, and displacement from our territories. These losses can never be fully healed but we can talk about our histories and realities through art, culture and stories.

Michelle Sound is a Cree and Métis artist, educator and mother. She is a member of Wapsewsipi/Swan River First Nation in Northern Alberta and was born and raised on the unceded and ancestral home territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-Waututh people. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University, School for the Contemporary Arts, and a Master of Applied Arts from Emily Carr University Art + Design. Michelle is currently an Indigenous Advisor at Douglas College and has taught workshops as a guest artist at the Richmond Art Gallery and the Bill Reid Gallery.

She has exhibited her artwork in Moving Throughlines (Seymour Art Gallery) and Winter Pandemic, (SoLA Contemporary Los Angeles) and upcoming exhibitions with the Daphne Art Centre (Montreal) and the Art Gallery of St Albert. Public art pieces include a utility box art wrap for the City of Vancouver and a painted mural exhibition in Ottawa-2018 nākateyimisowin/Taking Care of Oneself, Curated by Joi Arcand.

Michelle Sound, Untitled (Kinuso) (2021), Detail.

Installation View: (left) Michelle Sound, Untitled (Kinuso) (2021), Paper, embroidery thread, metallic thread, seed beads, thread, caribou fur and sinew, 39.5" x 51.5", Not for sale, (right) Michelle Sound, Untitled (Cree) (2021), Paper, embroidery thread, metallic thread, seed beads, thread, caribou fur and sinew, 39.5" x 51.5", Not for sale
Michelle Sound, Untitled (Cree) (2021), Detail
Installation View

Connect with more of Michelle's artwork:

For sales enquiries or more information please contact Leigh-Anne, Exhibitions Manager at leighanne(at)northvanarts.ca

To learn more about North Van Arts and CityScape Community ArtSpace please follow the links below:

About Pushing Boundaries

Pushing Boundaries is a biennial group exhibition showcasing and celebrating contemporary Indigenous artists. This will be the sixth Pushing Boundaries at CityScape Community ArtSpace, with the inaugural exhibition in 2011. In 2019, North Van Arts started taking the lead from Indigenous artists in the theme and curation of the show, creating more open dialogue for the whole process.

About North Van Arts

North Van Arts, founded in 1969 as The North Vancouver Community Arts Council, is a grassroots, social-profit, charitable, cultural organization dedicated to maximizing the arts' intrinsic value in all media. Our mandate is to enable emerging and professional artists in all disciplines, to bridge cultures, and to build strong and healthy communities through the arts