Ursula Johnson’s interdisciplinary practice ranges from fine craft and traditional Aboriginal art forms through performance and installation. Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember) examines ideas of ancestry, identity and cultural practice. Johnson deconstructs and manipulates the function and image of Mi’kmaw basketry, using traditional techniques to build non-functional forms.
In Mi’kwite’tmn, Johnson creates three distinct spaces, A “Museological Grand Hall” displays empty plexi vitrines bearing sand-blasted diagrams of traditional Mi’kmaw baskets. An “Archive Room” is crowded with mutant basket-type objects from the series O’pltek (“It is Not Right”). In the “Performative Space”, the artist presents an endurance performance of shaving, pounding and splitting an ash-wood log to produce a mountain of splints, as traditionally employed in Mi’kmaw basket-making.
Johnson explores the impact of colonialism on aboriginal material and linguistic culture, and challenges the museological and ethnographic frame imposed upon it.
The artist will present an endurance performance of shaving, pounding and splitting an ash-wood log to produce a mountain of splints, as traditionally employed in Mi’kmaw basket-making. The live performance will take place from March 7 to 10 in the Centre’s Lower East Gallery. Hours are: March 7, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; March 8, 1-5 p.m.; March 9, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; and March 10, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Everyone is welcome!