GEYAABI INDAYAAMIN OMAA
(WE ARE STILL HERE)
Seed beads on raw deer hide, 2020.
This piece is a dedication to all Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people whose bodies have been victimized by settler violence and is a response of refusal to the colonial domination of our bodies. Using the foundation of a waist corset (a western garment used as a colonial mechanism to reinforce settler distinctions between civilized versus uncivilized and binary notions of gender) this piece facilitates visual dialogue around the ways which Indigenous bodies have been and continue to be regulated, restricted, constrained and oppressed by colonial power structures.
The corset is also functionally wearable. When the corset is worn, the physical memory of the beaded text in relation to its interaction with the body leaves an imprint on the flesh. The interaction of flesh and beads acts as a collection of memory and reclamation of one’s body through the construct of the waist corset itself. The restricting tightness of the corset when worn, in conjunction with the coming together of beadwork and skin, formulates a re-positioning of power and colonial constructs of womanhood and gender binaries through the transformative act of binding and unbinding the corset.