Mino-bimaadiziwin (The Way of Good Life) - Men and Women’s Regalia Suite
mixed media, 2017
Collection of the Artist
Lori Beavis, mazinigwaaso / to bead something, Faculty of Fine Arts Gallery, Concordia University, 2019
Robert Houle's Paris / Ojibwa, The Art Gallery of Peterborough, 2011
Julie Nagam, Insurgence / Resurgence, Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2017, reproduced pages 23, 24 and 25
Barry Ace, A Reparative Act (Paris, France), https://www.barryacearts.com/beadwork/mino-bimaadiziwin/, and https://www.barryacearts.com/performance/a-reparative-act-paris-france/, accessed January 17, 2020
Lori Beavis, Ace's Exhibition Mazinigwasso at FOFA, Concordia University, http://www.barryacearts.com/news/aces-solo-exhibition-mazinigwasso-at-fofa-concordia-university-montreal/, accessed January 17, 2020
Homage to Four in Paris, Shelley Niro, https://www.barryacearts.com/news-2018/ottawa-art-gallery-special-commission-shelley-niros-homage-to-four-in-paris-footage-of-barry-ace-site-specific-performance/https://oaggao.ca/access/, accessed January 17, 2020
This work is accompanied by the following publication :
Robert Houle's Paris / Ojibwa, The Art Gallery of Peterborough, 2011 (essay by Barry Ace: A Reparative Act, page 34, autographed by Barry Ace)
The complete medium consists of:
Men's Regalia: Velvet fabric, glass beads, raw canvas, cotton thread, satin, brass buttons, calico fabric, hawk bells, rhinestones, plastic, polyester, horse hide, copper wire, otter fur, synthetic hair, synthetic bias edging, (wood: antique war club), bronze screen, paper, rhinestones, plastic, capacitors, inductors, light emitting diodes, resistors, circuit boards, coated wire, copper cones, white heart beads, abalone buttons, mannequin.
Women's Regalia: Velvet fabric, glass beads, cotton thread, calico fabric, polyester, hide, turkey feathers, string, ostrich plume, copper wire, otter fur, synthetic hair, bronze screen, paper, cowrie shells, rhinestones, synthetic bias edging, plastic, capacitors, inductors, light-emitting diodes, resistors, circuit boards, coated wire, copper cone jingles, copper cones, white heart beads, abalone buttons, mannequin.
Barry Ace’s broad range of materials used in works such as this incorporate the traditional and organic, such as abalone and horse hide, to contemporary and technological, such as light-emitting diodes and computer parts. The regalia are stunning in their effect – multi-layered, colourful, rich in decorative detail and innovative in their use of materials. This references past practices of the Anishinaabe, who incorporated new materials brought by European settlers into their decoration of articles of clothing and objects such as bags. As Ace states, “My contemporary artistic practice examines and draws inspiration from multiple facets of Anishinaabe culture. I create objects and imagery that utilize many distinct cultural forms and motifs, and I intentionally disrupt the reading of these works through the introduction of other elements, endeavouring to create a convergence of the historical and the contemporary.”
Dance is an important expression of Anishinaabe culture, and Ace used the men’s regalia in this work in dance performances in Paris in 2010, documented by Shelley Niro in the film Homage to Four in Paris. These performances, entitled A Reparative Act honoured the historic Anishinaabe dance troupe led by Maungwaudaus, who traveled to Paris in 1843 and performed in George Catlin’s Indian Curiousities for five months. Ace, dressed in the men’s regalia in this work, did four site-specific performances honouring four of the dancers from Maungwaudaus’s troupe, at four locations in Paris – the Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde and L’esplanade des Invalides. Ace’s performance celebrated, as he noted, “A miniscule moment in history deeply shrouded under a veil of mysticism, exoticism and romance, monumental in its celebration of a distant foreign space and time.”
The troupe also traveled through Belgium, England, Scotland and Ireland, and on his return to North America in 1848, Maungwudaus wrote An Account of the Chippewa Indians, Who Have Been Travelling Among the Whites in the United States, England, Ireland, Scotland, France and Belgium, documenting the troupe’s experiences in Europe.
As Lori Beavis notes, Ace’s work contributes to “the discussions taking place within Canada and other settler nations on the topics of decolonization and re/conciliation.” Works and performances such as this are important, to share stories and educate people.
In 2012, Ace won the Ontario Association of Art Galleries Curatorial Writing Award for his essay A Reparative Act written for the Paris/Ojibwa catalogue.
Please click here, for the French version of this text.
Available for viewing at: Heffel Vancouver
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