January 30, 2019

The Red Dress, II (2019)

This dress is fashioned after the traditional buckskin dresses of the Northern Plains, but made with velvet in powerful electric red. It is striking.

The necklace is fully beaded and is a collaboration piece done with Tyra Jerome. It is based on the floral beadwork of our People, the Anishinaabe, the original people, the Human Beings. The old folks say that beadwork patterns tell stories, and the placement of the flowers next to one another could reference a certain location where those plants grow, or even a medicinal recipe. Colors also confer ideas of serenity, strength, or rebirth.

For our necklace, we referenced the Turtle Mountains, the medicine wheel, the cycles of life, and the wild prairie rose. All are gentle, beautiful reminders that this place - this land - has been our mother since time immemorial, and our power grows from her.

The dress and necklace is the second set that we have designed to bring awareness to the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women from throughout the US and Canada who were taken from their families too soon, and their perpetrators were either not pursued or were not convicted. The violence inflicted upon our sacred sisters will not go without justice.

Edged in a rich matte gold, each bead holds a prayer that these precious souls will be found and justice served. I am grateful for the opportunity to create, always; it is immensely therapeutic for me to go through the process, especially when I think of and pray for the thousands of women who had their power to create unjustly stripped from them.

The dress will be on display at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND, as part of their exhibit Waasamoo-Beshizi (Power-Lines), which will be on view Jan 31-July 31.

(The first Red Dress was purchased by the Turtle Mountain Community College to be included in their permanent collection.)


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