Èt-shình (Medicine) is about resilience, health, and power. As an Indigenous woman; racism, prejudice, lateral violence, and sexism are daily experiences. The effects colonialism and the forced removal of the matriarchy have significantly impacted our communities for the worse.
Èt-shình (Medicine) is a body of work that relates to my experiences with colonial patriarchy. Each garment is representative of unique experiences I’ve had over the last several years. Each piece is meant to make the wearer feel powerful and protected. This exhibition marks the beginning of my exploration into the world of upcycled fashion. I’ve enjoyed making the garments throughout my residency at the Bonnie McComb-Kreye Artist in Residence here in Victoria, British Columbia.
Èt-shình (Medicine) also includes three graduation caps that I discovered in a trash can at the University of Victoria while in residence in the Department of Art Education. Although I hold a post-secondary degree, I do not have any formal training in art. I was taught by my Grandma Marilyn and I felt it was important to keep the natural flow of my learning to community-based. I believe you don’t need a degree to be successful in life. My family is full of self-made, self-taught, entrepreneurs that are successful without obtaining a post-secondary degree. I wanted to pair the garments with the graduation caps because both speak towards the feeling of independence and power.
And finally, Èt-shình (Medicine) explores what it means to be a light-skinned Indigenous person. I’ve created a series of beaded patches with the letters W.I.G. on them. W.I.G. stands for “White Indian Girl,” a comment made within a threat that sparked the need for this exhibition. W.I.G. is a reclamation of my visible and invisible self.
Èt-shình is my medicine. To view the April 23, 2020 Instagram live video, click: Etshinh (Medicine) Exhibition Tour
I dedicate this exhibition to my Grandma Helen and my Grandma Jill who have passed away in April 2020.
Dineh Strong (2020), School of Hard Knocks (2020), and Self Made (2020) found graduation caps, bugle beads, seed beads, copper, turquoise, abalone buttons, nylon thread. I discovered the grad caps in a trash can on the University of Victoria’s campus. These caps represent achievement and yet, were so easily discarded. I wanted to transform them and celebrate all those that have not graduated high school or post-secondary. Community-based learning, mentorships, and self-taught experience are just as valuable as a degree.
W.I.G. (2020) wire, upcycled head band with horse hair, clamps, dentalium shells, adhesive. W.I.G. stands for “White Indian Girl” a comment made within a threat that was directed towards me. Rather than being offended by the blatant prejudice, I decided to claim the identity.
Three Sisters (2020) horse hair, imitation sinew. White River First Nation people come from three sisters. The centre braid represents the sister I am a descendant of. I purposely made this braid larger and did a 4-strand braid rather than three to illustrate complexity.