Witness Blanket in Hamilton

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Gallery 4 Annex at Hamilton Public Library will be showing The Witness Blanket from July 13th to August 29th. On Friday, August 14th as part of Art Crawl the Central Library’s Gallery 4 will be open from 7-9pm with residential school survivors telling their stories at 8pm.

Check out this incredible video about how the blanket was created,

From The Witness Blanket website:

The blanket is a universal symbol of protection.
For many of us, it identifies who we are and where we’re from – we wear them in ceremony and give them as gifts. Blankets protect our young and comfort our elders.

Inspired by a woven blanket, we have created a large scale art installation, made out of hundreds of items reclaimed from Residential Schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures including Friendship Centres, band offices, treatment centres and universities, from across Canada. The Witness Blanket stands as a national monument to recognise the atrocities of the Indian Residential School era, honour the children, and symbolize ongoing reconciliation.

Strewn in the wake of the Indian Residential Schools are an immeasurable number of broken or damaged pieces. These fragmented cultures, crumbling buildings, segments of language, and grains of diminished pride are often connected only by the common experience that created them. Imagine those pieces, symbolic and tangible, woven together in the form of a blanket. A blanket made from pieces of residential schools, churches, government buildings, and cultural structures.

A blanket where the story of each piece is as important to its construction as the wood and screws that hold it together.

A blanket with the sole purpose of standing in eternal witness to the effects of the Indian Residential School era – the system created and run by churches and the Canadian government to “take the Indian out of the child”. Left alone, these pieces may be forgotten, lost, buried, or worse – be uncomfortable reminders that leave painful impressions on the minds and hearts of those who recognize what they represent. Individually, they are paragraphs of a disappearing narrative. Together they are strong and formidable, collectively able to recount for future generations the true story of loss, strength, reconciliation and pride. — Carey Newman (Ha-yalth-kingeme), Master Carver

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