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Mi'kwite'tmn (Do You Remember)

This summer, be sure to catch artist Ursula Johnson's first major touring solo exhibition at Saint Mary's University, before she embarks on a national tour with the work. In Mi'kwite'tmn, Johnson explores ideas of ancestry, identity and cultural practice. It's an exhibition that sheds light on the state of traditional Mi'kmaw basketry---a practice few youth are keeping alive today in the aboriginal community. Johnson's exhibition explores the ways in which archivists present Mi'kmaw baskets as artifacts, filling an "Archive Room" with unsettling "mutant" basket-like objects. Her "Museological Grand Hall" showcases sand-blasted diagrammes of traditional baskets on empty vitines. And in Johnson's performance piece, she sets herself the impossible task of turning an ash wood log into splints to make baskets---impossible because she willfully makes the splints the wrong way. It's a call to those around her to remember the skills passed down to her by her grandmother and her elders, rather than let them sit stagnantly in archives. "The act of processing this log in the improper way, ensures that the plea to encourage learning about this history and these skills, for my current generation and others to come, is heard with a louder voice," says Johnson. She hopes the exhibition will create a dialogue surrounding the things we remember and those we choose to forget. "This project is much bigger than just an art exhibition." —Lizzy Hill Feast & Discussion with live music on Thursday, July 31, 7:30pm.

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