Zaagidowin gii-dgowngaade (made with love)
March 3 - May 31, 2023
A community-focused exhibition showcasing the treasured quilts made by Anishinaabe artists, community members and their families on Mnidoo Mnising.
Quilting has always been a communal activity; an occasion for grandmothers, mothers, and many generations of Anishinaabe men and women to gather, socialize, and work together to create blankets for loved ones or to provide for their families.
Through laughter and stories shared while sitting around the frame and hand-sewing pieces together, many hands come together to complete quilts that remain within a family for years to come. To receive a blanket through inheritance or as a gift to celebrate life and ones accomplishments is always an honor and it connects us to family and community members that may no longer be physically with us.
A quilt is an expression of the makers, time, talents and skills. A meditative and slow process that sees the quilter putting love in every stitch and giving prayer from start to finish; honouring those that came before them and blessing the many generations to come.
These quilts can be elaborate in their design, their use of printed/color fabric and the stitching itself. Other embellishments such as applique and the inclusion of ties and buttons come together to create a united piece that depicts a narrative of personal and cultural significance.
The ingenuity of and the resilience in the act of being able to take scraps of fabric and create intricate designs and whole quilts that tell stories and represent generations of love is a tradition that all Anishinaabe artists and crafters seek to continue: to create something meaningful, out of what we have available, for others to enjoy.
Such quilts are are pulled out occasionally. Either for the purpose of ceremony or unfolded from the closet and placed on beds come the cold of fall and winter. They are seldom shown beyond a families home.
Zaagidowin gii-dgowngaade (made with love) seeks to showcase the talent and love of our grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, aunts, uncles and community members through a community-focused exhibition of these beautifully-patterned and humble quilts. We hope to create an exhibit that honors their memory, provides a similar sense of comfort, and inspires a new generation of crafters.
This exhibition is curated by Shaelynn Recollet with support from our funders, the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, FedNor, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.