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The Radical Stitch: Bead Until Your Fingers Bleed by Sherry Farrell Racette

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The Radical Stitch: Bead Until Your Fingers Bleed by Sherry Farrell RacetteMentoring Artists for Women's Art | |

The Wendy Wersch Memorial Lecture Series is an annual event celebrating the memory of Winnipeg artist Wendy Wersch. Each lecture celebrates women in the visual arts who act as role models for innovative cultural investigation. The lecture series builds awareness of feminist art criticism, activism and practice.

Beadwork and other forms of traditional stitching have made a leap into contemporary art, often in works that tackle tough issues and unexpectedly engage with new technologies. Artists like Charlene Holy Bear, Ruth Cuthand, Katherine Boyer and Jamie Okuma post their works on social media so others can watch the emergence of the image and guess its form and purpose. When Sherry Farrell Racette found herself posting photos of her battered fingers mid-way through a large project, and noticed that others did the same, it became another aspect of the work: the formation of a sisterhood of countless broken needles, multiple needle-pokes on aching fingers, spots of blood on works in progress. These are the battle scars of women beading for a greater purpose.

Sherry Farrell Racette is an interdisciplinary scholar with an active arts practice. Her recent essays have appeared in Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies (2016), Cultural Work of Photography in Canada (2012) and Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism (2011). Her arts practice includes beadwork, painting and multi-media textile works. Farrell Racette has illustrated children’s books by noted authors Maria Campbell, Freda Ahenakew and Ruby Slipperjack. Curatorial and artistic projects include 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 (2015), a public installation of paintings based on memories of Métis elders. Farrell Racette teaches at the University of Manitoba in the Native Studies and Women and Gender Studies departments, and is the 2016-2017 Indigenous Scholar Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute and Visiting Resident Scholar at Massey College, University of Toronto.

Thanks to Video Pool Media Arts Centre for donating the video equipment to record this talk.


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Mentoring Artists for Women's Art (MAWA)

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