At first glance, ‘Native Immigrant’ is an exhibit of rather eclectic dresses – each one a patchwork of objects woven together to tell a story. (CTV Montreal) Indigenous artists and newcomers to Canada have embarked on an artistic project.
For the last five years, the members of ‘Native Immigrant’ have been creating dresses that tell the stories of Canada’s oldest – and newest – inhabitants.
At first glance, it’s an exhibit of rather eclectic dresses – each one is a patchwork of objects woven together to tell a story.
Carolina Echeverria immigrated to Canada from Chile in the 1980’s, and she says the experience was, at times, a painful one.
She started the collective five years ago.
At the time, the province’s proposed Charter of Values was dividing Quebecers. She says immigrants and Indigenous people felt left out of the conversation.
The collective allows artists from different communities to collaborate and create dresses.
Nico Williams is an Ojibwe artist who works in geometric beadwork.
“It was really exciting to see this collaboration happen, because ten years ago – 15 years ago – there was no interest,” Williams said. “Nobody wanted to hear our voices.”
Tais Chiodi Aravjo Da Costa, an artist from Brazil, says the collective helped her to learn more about her new home.
“Right away I felt comfortable, I felt that was a place that was welcoming, where we could talk about immigration, we could talk about language and identity,” she said.
Ultimately, the members want the dresses to unify everyone living in Quebec.
“That we can weave ourselves into something that is a collective effort, and there’s no tendency to give more importance to one group than the other,” Echeverria said.
A retrospective of the dresses will be on display at NDG’s Meteque gallery until September 2.
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