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     Art of Indigenous Fibers

January 25 to February 7, 2021

market.swaia.org

Curators Statement 

Art of Indigenous Fibers is an online SWAIA exhibition featuring Indigenous artists who creatively challengthe categorical intersection of fiber, textile, and mixed media to create conceptual art rooted in their diverse Indigenous cultures. Artists featured, are both pushing the boundaries of fiber, or reversely, transforming unconventional materials into an unexpected textile 

Artist Barry Ace uses materials such as capacitors, inductors, light emitting diodes, resistors, and circuit boards, combined with textile and glass beads, to fashion visually stunning and conceptually centered textiles and regalia. Ace’s art confronts pervasive constructs of Western ideology that has, historically and presently, minimized Indigenous art, life and culture into a curiosity, artifact, exotic, or objectified commodity.  

Sarah Sense weaves cut photographs and paper together, designing woven tapestries bringing attention to social and political statements. Anita Fields molds clay, composes textiles, and articles of clothing as metaphors exploring the power of place and Indigenous cultures.  

Meghann O’Brien reframes and refashions ideas linked to her Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw history, interpreting values with her own visual language. As an advocate of Native Feminisms, Maria Hupfied embraces diverse fibers, materials and performance to demonstrate her commitment to critical accountability and awakened solidarity with Indigenous peoples.  

Interdisciplinary artist Jeffrey Gibson, who is influenced by popular music, fashion, literature, cultural and critical theory, creates art using textiles, found objects, mixed media and performance to reference various aesthetic and material histories rooted in Native culturesRecycled computer motherboards are sewn together by Wally Dion to re-examine the importance of craft and skilled labor, while focusing upon the crucial role women played within Indigenous communities as nurturers, gatherers, teachers and leaders.  

Together, Barry AceNatalie BallWally DionAnita FieldsJeffrey GibsonMaria Hupfield Meghann O’Brien, Sarah Sense, Charlene Vickers interweave Indigenous modes of communication embedded within the materials used by each artist. They challenge the categorical intersection of fiber arts and Native American art, both of which have, at various moments, been considered as craft rather than fine art. The sharing of objects that carry deep cultural meanings, such as the works of art highlighted in this online exhibition, open viewpoints, diverse dialogue and hopefully create new connections. 

 

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