My work is an exploration and declaration of my identity as a mixed Indigenous and white woman. Due to my Indigenous parents growing up without a connection to their culture, I also had very little knowledge of culture and felt estranged from it. As I have been seeking deeper understanding and connection, I recently have incorporated Indigenous beadworking techniques into my practice.
I have found that in modern society when we speak about identity, we often view it as if aspects of identity are simply boxes to be marked off on a sheet and declared to the world as definitive statements. Through my explorations of my own seemingly disjointed identity, I have found that this mode of thinking is from a contemporary colonialist framework that does not allow for the nuanced fluidity that is experienced in life. As such, my work strives to challenge these rigid constructions of identity and instead offer deeper exploration and understanding.
Through my beaded pieces I explore the liminality of being a biracial individual and seeking to find a balance between expressions of identity. I take the common, traditional approaches to Indigenous beading and imbue with my contemporary understanding of race and identity. Beaded pieces are often illustrational due to the maneuverability of the small, multi-coloured beads and I use this to my advantage in my work. I use recognizable imagery to interest the viewer, which then invites them to learn more about the pieces and by extension my own story.
According to many Indigenous cultures, beading is medicine. As I fall into the meditative space of stitching each bead onto the felt, I imbue the piece with my thoughts and experiences. This provides opportunities for healing and for mutual understanding between me and the viewer.