For a while now I have been working on a project titled 150 Numbers and tonight it all came together. There are some things I would change in terms of the installation, but for the most part I was really happy with how it turned out. Installation took far longer than I anticipated (but that is always the way). My partner Jake and I were there for almost 5 hours before we ran home to walk our dog and head out again for the festivities. It was a great night and I am so honoured to be one in a group of amazing artists. Since moving to Halifax in seven years ago it has been a goal of mine to participate in this yearly event, fingers crossed it wont be the last!
Here is a short write up about the installation:
150 Numbers seeks to disrupt the current dominant Canadian narrative by illustrating First Nations narratives from the last 150 years. It is a beaded installation that highlights pressing and disturbing histories that are shared by many First Nations people across Canada. This installation is made from 150 beaded bracelets that depict numbers relating to First Nation experiences in Canada during the last 150 years. Numbers such as “1870”, the year the first Indian Residential School opened; “1990” the year of the Oka resistance; “150,000” the number of Metis, Status and non-status First Nations, and Inuit children who attended residential school (this is based on federal government estimates); and “11” the number of treaties in Canada that have been signed and broken.
The intent of this installation is to draw attention to these stories to engage in nation-to-nation dialogues, while learning from the past to better inform present and future understanding and actions. This work asks the audience to contemplate the past 150 years but also to imagine solutions to the next 150 years. Viewers were encouraged to take a piece of art in the form of a postcard with a question on the back. Along with the question there was a QR code that took the viewer to an online survey which they were asked to answer.