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Swimming with my Ancestors

Ribbon skirt, 2020.

This piece is the creative result of a dream about swimming with my ancestor grandmothers. Honouring their names and identities through beadwork on a series of velvet ribbons (with one ribbon left blank in honour of my future ancestor grandmothers), each of these women make up a part of the woman I am today. Their presence is within me, with their resilience as Aabitaawikwewag a guiding force in who I am as a designer, maker and thinker.

This piece marks an embodied gesture of identity through garment construction, beadwork and performance. Water plays a significant role in this piece. It enables the activation of my grandmother ancestors’ spirits, mobilizing the presence of their identities in relationship to our ancestral waterways. Water embeds itself within every inch of the ribbon skirt, deeply soaking between the beads and the textile’s storied weave. In water it’s weight presses against my skin, fostering a new relationship between my body, my ancestor grandmothers’ bodies and the materiality of the skirt itself. With this performance I am not longer wearing the skirt alone. I am wearing this skirt with my ancestor grandmothers. 

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