Thunderbeans and Rebirthing the Heyoka
A Spiritual Path
Nadia Myre, Indian Act, 2002
"Each page is pierced by a needle and like a scar bears the stitch, a reminder of its path across the page…"*
In the fall of 2002, an annotated version of the Indian Act, each of its 56 pages woven with beads, mounted on black felt, and encased in individual shadow boxes, lined the walls of grunt gallery.
Entitled Indian Act, the exhibition represented the culmination of a series of communal “Beading Bee” sessions held primarily in Montréal, in which red and white glass trade beads were sewn across the pages of the document by over 250 participants as a means of “obscuring the Law and rendering it finally illegible.”*
The project was conceived by Montréal-based artist Nadia Myre as “an act of rebellion”* against the legislation that continues to condition and control the lives of First Nations individuals, comprising an opportunity to not only rewrite a document for which translations in aboriginal languages were never provided by the Canadian government,^ but to learn about and participate in the production of beadwork as well.
*From Myre’s Artist Statement
^From Frank Shebageget’s essay for the catalogue to Riding Lines, a 2001 exhibition of Myre’s work at Centre d’art Indien
Reona Brass, Burn, 2001
“I see innocence scorched, hanging from her limbs
I smell desire and think about the pain…
I hear dignity cry out and no one does a thing…
Their ways empty sweet without humility”*
Reona Brass is a contemporary Peepeekisis First Nations performance and installation artist who, in 2001, performed a piece called “Burn” at the Grunt Gallery.
In this piece she explored the shifting nature of female and First Nations identity through ritual. Looking at the images of her performance one gets a sense of anger, trauma, and pain but also endurance. The methodic nature of the paint laid out on the floor combined with the plastic bag over her head lead to a continuous questioning of her position as either victim or agent.
Reona has participated in many conferences and festivals at Grunt including IndianACTS, Live at the end of the Century, and Live Biennial 2003. This work will be featured on the forthcoming Activating the Archive IndianACTS website.
*text taken from Grunt Spring 2001 Catalogue