Art exhibit highlighting the voices of Indigenous women


Curator Melanie Monique Rose wants to “elevate and amplify” the voices of Indigenous women by telling their stories through art.

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Regina artist Melanie Monique Rose uses plants native to Saskatchewan to dye the fibers she uses in her artwork, a deeply personal nod to her experience as an Indigenous artist connected to the land on which she lives. lives.

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“I take these plants, like goldenrod, and create color with them to dye my wool that I use,” Rose said. “All the colors I have there were taken from Treaty Four territory, for my needle felting.”

Rose is both artist and curator of ᑌᐸᑯᐦ or Tepakohp, which means “seven” in Cree, a multimedia exhibition of works by seven Saskatchewan artists who use art to share their experiences as Indigenous women .

The unique collection is set to debut at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival next week, before it begins an extended tour across the province with the Saskatchewan Arts Council Organization.

ᑌᐸᑯᐦ includes works by Audie Murray, Larissa Kitchemonia, Stacey Fayant, and Brandy Jones, among others, who each contributed multiple pieces, each depicting their lived experiences in a way that examines connections to the land.

Rose imagined the exhibit because she wanted to bring the experiences of Indigenous women to center stage, as traditionally their voices are muted.

“It’s really about elevating and amplifying,” Rose said. “I wanted artists to reflect on something that is close to their hearts, that they want to share through their art.”

The result has been a series of very personal pieces, she said, that touch on topics ranging from the experience of Indigenous motherhood to discovering identity, grappling with grief and navigating the injustices.

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A striking self-portrait by artist Marcy Friesen tells the story of her comfort with her Welsh and Cree heritage; a play by Donna Langhorne examines her journey of reconnecting with her Anishinaabe roots after being adopted by a white family as a child.

“A lot of works are really about connecting and reconnecting,” Rose said. “It’s quite contemporary, but you can definitely see how rooted in tradition it is.”

Melanie Monique Rose, curator of a multimedia art installation titled ᑌᐸᑯᐦ, or Tepakohp, makes a willow wreath for the show at her home Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Regina.
Melanie Monique Rose, curator of a multimedia art installation titled ᑌᐸᑯᐦ, or Tepakohp, makes a willow wreath for the show at her home Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Regina. Photo by KAYLE NEIS /Regina Chief’s Post

For Rose, the overarching goal is to educate the public about the experience of being Indigenous in today’s climate.

“We know we have a major problem here in Canada, with missing and murdered Indigenous women and negative stereotypes that just aren’t true,” Rose said. “I really wanted to use my artistic gifts as a form of activism.”

Rose is excited to partner with both OSAC and the festival to show ᑌᐸᑯᐦ, in order to reach audiences across the province. The OSAC tour will take physical exposure to Prince Albert, Estevan, Indian Head and more over the next two years.

But the show’s Regina debut will be at the upcoming Cathedral Arts Festival, which kicks off Monday. ᑌᐸᑯᐦ will be displayed continuously throughout the week, on the digital notice board located at Westminster United Church.

This will be the first time the festival has hosted an art installation in this way, President Marilyn Turnley said, and nature will hopefully allow for more reach than a typical exhibit inside a venue.

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“It provides an opportunity for people on bikes, on foot or in cars to see it up close and personal,” Turnley said.

Turnley said the festival was thrilled to be the first preview of the collection.

“Diversity and inclusivity have always been at the forefront of the festival,” Turnley said. “That’s how we build community – we bring art together that way.”

A piece by Melanie Monique Rose, curator of a multimedia art installation titled ᑌᐸᑯᐦ or Tepakohp, which will debut at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival next week.
A piece by Melanie Monique Rose, curator of a multimedia art installation titled ᑌᐸᑯᐦ or Tepakohp, which will debut at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival next week. Photo by KAYLE NEIS /Regina Chief’s Post

The artists presented in ᑌᐸᑯᐦ will also be present personally the last day, saturdayto interact with festival-goers and offer original artwork for purchase – both their own and that of other Indigenous artists.

“It’s about opening that door for other artists,” Rose said. “To create this space for the next generation, which I think is the whole spirit of the exhibition.”

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