Translation: “be alive, live”
Model: Maangaashkaa Lesky
Aanii. This mask is made using Quillwork, a traditional Anishinaabe art form using birch bark, and porcupine quills. I used imitation sinew and deer hide for the ties. Materials were gathered in the Harbor Springs area, the land of the Odawa peoples. With this mask, it is my intention to give voice to my ancestors and relatives who experienced the smallpox pandemic brought by settlers in the 1830s, and the coronavirus pandemic today. In both pandemics, the Anishinaabek did not have any immunity to either disease or virus, no medicines to affectively treat people, and many self-quarantined away from their community. Miigwech.
Senior, Apparel and Textile Design, Minor American Indian and Indigenous Studies
Member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
Harbor Springs, MI
The CREATE! Microgrant has helped me complete my project by giving me the finances to support my daily life (i.e. food, rent, books for class) so I could I put my time towards creating artwork that has voice and that I am passionate about. Through the process of creating through COVID, I have had the opportunity to live at home in Harbor Springs. While we were in quarantine, it was the dead of winter in northern Michigan. I took walks through the snow-covered woods and I thought about all of my relatives who experienced the smallpox pandemic almost 200 years ago and had to self-quarantine in these conditions. As I worked with my quills, I thought about the how families must have felt to watch their loved ones slowly leave this life and walk on to the creator. This process has been very enriching because I am exploring a medium and materials that are so versatile, durable, and connected to my personal family history.