My recent works celebrate the life of my late mother Anita and our prairie Métis heritage. Mum’s stories, artifacts and documents challenged the silence surrounding our Indigenous ancestors and inspired some of us to embrace this heritage. Mum used stories to model behaviour and values such as the importance of kindness, generosity, humour, family ties and respect for the natural world.
As a process-based artist, I harvest leaves, acorns, thorns, berries and reeds to make iterative works. Working intuitively, I stage and photograph the plant material, scale the resulting digital images and print them on paper. Some of these printed images are then embellished using women’s traditional handwork (embroidering, weaving, beading, hand-tinting). The images are then hand or laser-cut and presented as final works or used as building blocks for future works.
When I collect, sort, grade and then “preserve” plants as digital images, I re-enact my family’s seasonal harvesting rituals. When I use these images to make art, I celebrate plants as the basis of life on earth, salvage pieces of our family history, and address broader issues of Indigenous rights in 21st-century Canada.