Carrie Allison, Beaded Botanical 3 (sabatia kennedyana fern.), toho beads on linen, 2018, photo: courtesy of the artist. Photo: Séamus Gallagher
wâhkôhtowin is the Cree word for “kinship” or “the way in which we relate to each other.” For artist Carrie Allison, this concept serves as an artistic methodology and guiding principle. Heart River (2018), a beaded map of the Heart River, which runs through the artist’s Cree and Métis family territory, underscores essential relationships between traditional beading, water, and the land. The companion installation Connect/Contact (2017), uses flora harvested from the banks of the river to create a gathering of paper discs whose movements invite visitors to listen for what Carmen Robertson calls “the sounds of the watery embodiment of place.” Finally, Beaded Botanicals (2018-2019) features beaded sketches of endangered flora found in Mi’kma’ki, the territory in which Allison currently resides, presented alongside botany specimens borrowed from the Herbarium of the Nova Scotia Museum.
The exhibition is accompanied by an Occasional Paper featuring an essay by Carmen Robertson, Canada Research Chair in North American Art and Material Culture at Carleton University.