Et-shinh (Medicine)

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. 

 

Battle Armour_1
Battle Armour (2020) upcycled jean vest, moose hide, abalone buttons, cotton fabric, seed beads, short bugle beads, horse hair, nylon thread with Self Made (2020) grad cap. I associate this work with protection. The abalone buttons represent wealth and power. This work is meant to protect the wearer for metaphorical battles they may face.

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Naltsi Niisuu_1
Niisuu Disguised as Naltsi (2020) upcycled jean jacket, bicycle inner tube, seed beads, short bugle beads, 24k gold beads, galvanized gold beads, nylon thread with Dineh Strong (2020) grad cap, bicycle inner tube skirt, and bicycle inner tube feather necklace. For many years my family and I have been identifying ourselves as Naltsi (Crow Clan) however this was incorrect. Recently, our Elders have told us that we are descendants of the Niisuu; a group that survived on a raft and were rescued by the Naltsi. I’ve represented the Naltsi with the cut out feathers and the Niisuu are represented by the golden raft on the back of the work.

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Pink Lady_1
Pink Lady (2020) upcycled jacket, wolf fur, bandana, seed beads, 24k gold beads, nylon thread with moose hide skirt and W.I.G./horse hair (2020). I made this work to represent contemporary Upper Tanana culture. We use bandanas when we dance and I wanted to highlight the beautiful of the bandana within this urban chic jacket.

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My Vest_1
Target (2020) Gifted jean vest, melton, seed beads, nylon thread, patches and pins (Note: Whess Harman and Cole Pauls patches are featured) with School of Hard Knocks (2020) grad cap and bicycle inner tube skirt. This is my personal vest that I have transformed and have added pins and patches that are important to me. I have most recently added a W.I.G. patch to the front of the vest and a large target (bullseye) to the back.

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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.

 

 

 

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