Exhibition Celebrating Red River Métis Matriarchs Opens at WAG-Qaumajuq

Tracy Charette Fehr traces history of grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and cousins

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 Territory and the Métis Nation Homeland, August 13, 2021: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajuq is pleased to present Heartbeat of a Nation – Métis Women, 250 Years, a new exhibition of work from artist Tracy Charette Fehr.

Fehr marks 250 years by tracing the history of seven generations of Métis grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and cousins, back to 1770. These stories are represented by 250 individually hand formed clay bowls on display in Nakishkamohk – the name given to the space between WAG and Qaumajuq by Métis Elder Verna Demontigny. These ceramic bowls blend traditional and contemporary hand building and firing techniques and are inspired by past generations of Métis creators and artists.

Though the Red River Métis are historically a matriarchal Nation, that tradition has eroded over time and Métis women have not been given due recognition for their role in the birth and cultural development of the Métis Nation. The intention of Heartbeat of a Nation is to acknowledge the strength, labour, and resiliency of Métis women in the community. At the close of the exhibition, the bowls will be gifted to 250 Métis Nation women across Manitoba.

As part of the exhibition’s programming, Métis Kitchen Table Teachings offers an educational series dedicated to the transmission of Métis Nation’s knowledge and culture. In partnership with the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Infinity Women Secretariat, WAG-Qaumajuq is very proud to highlight traditional teachings, including a video series featuring intergenerational family stories told by Métis women.

The public is invited to join us on the WAG rooftop on Friday, August 20, from 7-9PM for the free opening celebration featuring a Red River Métis fiddle jam with Tayler Fleming and Melissa St. Goddard.

Quick Facts: 

  • Tracy Charette Fehr is a Métis artist working primarily in thread, textile and clay. Her family has deep roots in the Red River Settlement of Winnipeg and in St. Malo/LaRochelle, Manitoba.
  • Curated by Julia Lafreniere, Head of Indigenous Initiatives, and Riva Symko, Head of Collections & Exhibitions at WAG-Qaumajuq.
  • Fehr marks 250 years and seven generations with 250 individually hand formed clay bowls.
  • In partnership with the Infinity Women Secretariat and the Manitoba Metis Federation, each of the bowls displayed here will be gifted to individual Métis women across the province at the close of the exhibition.
  • The opening celebration will take place at the WAG rooftop sculpture garden on Friday August 20 from 7-9PM.
  • WAG-Qaumajuq in partnership with the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Infinity Women Secretariat, presents Métis Kitchen Table Teachings. A series of virtual events is dedicated to the transmission of Métis knowledge and culture. Visit wag.ca to learn more.


Quotes:  

“Women have been at the heart of Métis community since the inception of our Nation. We are the rightful community leaders and thinkers, silenced by colonization. I’m very pleased to be co-curating this exhibition with my colleague Riva Symko, Head of Collections and Exhibitions, and I am grateful to be sharing the stories of our Matriarchs through the Métis Kitchen Table Teachings programming for this exhibition.”

— Julia Lafreniere, Head of Indigenous Initiatives, WAG-Qaumajuq

“Connecting and empowering Métis women across our Nation is the core function of the Infinity Women Secretariat – it’s also the work that lives closest to our hearts.  Initiatives like this are vital to elevating our history, reminding all Canadians that the women of the Red River Métis played a critical role in the development of our families, our culture, our province and our country. It’s time for our stories to be told.”

— Anita Campbell, Spokeswoman, Infinity Women Secretariat

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my work in this exhibit. Making these 250 bowls has been my way of honouring Métis mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts. I hope that people will see the exhibit and join in celebrating the contributions, strength and resilience of Métis women.”

— Tracy Charette Fehr, Artist

Support 
WAG-Qaumajuq thanks the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Infinity Women Secretariat.

Associated Links 
Heartbeat of a Nation
Métis Kitchen Table Teachings

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RSVP to nschuweiler@wag.ca

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: 

Amy Rebecca Harrison
Engagement Supervisor
Winnipeg Art Gallery
204.789.1347
aharrison@wag.ca

Kat Patenaude  
Media Relations Advisor
Manitoba Metis Federation  
 204.801.7710   
Kat.Patenaude@mmf.mb.ca  

The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajuq is a cultural advocate using art to connect, inspire, and inform. Playing a dynamic role in the community, we are a place for learning, dialogue, and enjoyment through art. Opened in March 2021, Qaumajuq connects to the WAG on all levels, celebrating the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. The new WAG-Qaumajuq cultural campus is now one of the largest art museums in Canada. To learn more visit wag.ca.

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the democratic self-governing political representative for the Red River Métis. The Red River Métis are Canada’s partners in confederation and the founders of the province of Manitoba.

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