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Distinguished Visiting Indigenous Faculty Fellow Sharing with others, wisdom and knowledge, about who we are Miiniwewiniisiwin awanenowiyak
The Jackman Humanities Institute is pleased to announce the addition of a new annual fellowship, beginning in 2016-2017, for a Distinguished Visiting Indigenous Faculty scholar, who will be a member of the Circle of Fellows. The program is supported by Massey College, and the incumbent will also be a residential fellow of Massey College during their time in Toronto. The name of this fellowship is expressed in the Anishinaabemowin language.
The first person to hold this fellowship in 2016-2017 will be Sherry Farrell Racette (Associate Professor of Native Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Manitoba). Professor Racette is an interdisciplinary scholar with an active arts and curatorial practice. Her broad research interests are Métis and First Nations women’s history, particularly Indigenous art histories that recontextualize museum collections and reclaim women’s voices and lives. Her arts practice includes painting and multi-media works combining textiles, beadwork and embroidery with sound, photography and text. She has illustrated children’s books by noted authors Maria Campbell, Freda Ahenakew and Ruby Slipperjack, as well as her own, The Flower Beadwork People (Gabriel Dumont Institute, 1985; reissue 2009). She has edited exhibition catalogues for Clearing a Path: New Ways of Seeing Traditional Indigenous Art (with Carmen Robertson, CPRC, 2009), Close Encounters: the Next 500 Years (Plug In ICA, 2011) and co-edited Art in Our Lives: Native Women Artists in Dialogue (SAR, 2010). Recent essays appear in Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies (forthcoming Routledge, 2016), The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada (McGill-Queens, 2012) and Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism (MOCNA, 2011). Curatorial and artistic projects include The Métis: a Visual History (GDI, 2010), Resistance/Resilience: Métis Art, 1860-2011 (Batoche Heritage Centre, Saskatchewan, 2011), We Are Not Birds (Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, 2014) and From Here: Story Gatherings from the Qu’Appelle Valley (GDI 2015), a public installation of paintings based on memories of Métis elders.
My primary project will respond to the annual theme of Time, Rhythm and Pace by exploring a sprawling visual network that has moved aesthetic knowledge across time and place, and the power of the rhythm and pace of stitching to create community spaces of dialogue and resistance. This project, a book manuscript emphasizing (but not limited to) Métis beadwork, quillwork and clothing, is the culmination of decades of research in archival and museum collections in North America and Europe. The rhythms inherent in historic Métis movement: seasonal change, the swaying of a horse, the rocking of a Red River cart, the sweep of a paddle, fiddle tunes and dancing feet are reflected in the visual. Equally important are radical disruptions and narratives of displacement, and the rhythms of sewing and beading that helped women re-establish order and meaning to daily life. In particular I will explore several concepts related to the movement and transference of Métis women’s knowledge and artistic practice across time and place, emphasizing how women created and recreated community, marked visual territory, and contributed to community economies through the commodification of their artwork. My activities at the Institute will focus on writing, but I will also be painting, stitching and beading in preparation for a solo exhibition next spring that draws from this research. I will seek opportunities to engage others in the collective spirit of beading together. Get ready to thread some needles!
Read more about Sherry Farrell Racette's work HERE.