Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Diviners and Turtle Clan Searchers in FIFTH WORLD at the Mendel Art Gallery



photos by Troy Mamer

These works were part of a larger installation called Ominjimendaan/ to remember shown at grunt gallery in Vancouver BC and Urban Shaman in Winnipeg MN. "Carvings in wood, grasses wrapped in fabric and hair, and a clan of turtles become signals and searchers to remember those lost or missing. Grunt gallery is pleased to present the work of Charlene Vickers in her new installation entitled, “Ominjimendaan/ to remember”. This exhibition is comprised of a range of sculptural objects including wrapped grasses, sturdy spear forms, and stylized turtles. At the heart of this exhibition, Vickers evokes a healing space for those who have experienced loss or who are looking for someone who is missing. Within each grass stalk, spear, and turtle, memory is a source of experiential meaning both historical and personal, for maker and viewer. History, healing and growth are themes of the early wrapped grass and fabric works. By wrapping and binding grasses and hair together with cotton and linen strips, the grasses begin to resemble bone-like forms to evoke vulnerability and recovery. The most recent wrapped grasses stand facing the viewer in relation to their own body. Emphasis on how the body and experiences of the viewer are incorporated in the meaning of the work is crucial. Tall lengths of pointed, sharpened cedar stand balanced against a wall waiting for someone to employ them with purpose; a story, a history, an action. Resembling spears or tipi poles, one thinks of weaponry, hunting, or traditional shelters that provide protection and sustenance. The initial idea for the form of the work began when thinking of the porcupine quill and its elegant and efficient functionality as deterrent to predators. The clan of turtles are the searchers of things lost: people, culture, languages, and histories. The clan shuffles, floats, dreams and searches to find lost sisters and family members, then slowly re-enters the land and the rivers from where they came. This exhibition was produced in cooperation with Urban Shaman Gallery, Winnipeg."

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