Submitted by: Lisa Shepherd, Métis Artist
When I visited the lands of my great grandmothers, a few years ago, I learned about the beaded whimsies that the Haudenosaunee women created to sell to the tourists around Niagra Falls. My favourite pieces were the three dimensional canoes with “Fast Boat” beaded on their sides. I imagined they might have been designed with the idea of the tourists purchasing them to take home to their children. The whimsies often had the date and place beaded on them. As I turned over a whimsie in my hand, reading the place and date, I thought about the message through time that our Ancestors had left us. How they had marked their place in time.
As I created this mask, I thought about this place and time that we are in today. What story will our masks tell 100 years from now? A story not of self-preservation, but preservation of each other. That is my hope. When we wear a mask, it doesn’t protect us from getting sick but reduces the risk of breathing out sickness onto others.
Everything changes this year. The air is more clear and the animals get a rest from so many people milling about, but at what cost? There is too much loss of life and suffering alone.
How will this time and place be remembered?
This mask was created for the Breathe community Facebook group – A collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency through 21st century pandemic.