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On the Artful Path: Sleeman Makazin

Among the many historical objects and belongings displayed in MOA’s Multiversity Galleries are a wide range of contemporary artworks, often purchased or commissioned directly from the artists themselves, and sometimes donated by artists or collectors. Much dynamic new work is being done by Indigenous women artists who are relearning and remixing women’s practices of the past to reflect on contemporary contexts for cultural reclamation, artistic freedom and building community.

These works speak to the individual experiences of these women and the powerful ways they are making sense of the world through their art and their ancestral knowledge. The next time you visit MOA, be sure to look for some of these unique and memorable works.

Sleeman Makazin, by Charlene Vickers (2011)

Anishinaabe artist Charlene Vickers’ works concern memory and the expression of Indigenous identity, and particularly how materials themselves can carry social and cultural significance. These moccasins, constructed of Sleeman beer cartons, denim and glass beads, speak to the commodification of Indigenous culture. Vickers reinvents a typical “Native” object sold to tourists by incorporating materials that draw from urban Indigenous experiences. The moccasins may not be wearable, but they tell a story of power dynamics, loss of culture and finding personal strength.

Find Me: Case 045, or on MOA’s Collections Online. Photo by Kyla Bailey.