A display of 45 hand-crafted masks that tell stories of resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic is being unveiled at the Royal Alberta Museum Wednesday.
Breathe: Creating Resilience Through Traditional Art showcases masks made by artists from across Canada.
“It stems from a project called the Breathe Project, which was co-created by two Métis artists who saw that, at the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago, no one was making art, no one was sewing or creating,” explained Elaine Alexie, curator of Indigenous Studies at the RAM.
“They felt that this was a really important time to be making art.”
It started as an online project and a callout, asking other artists to submit their work.
Now, the in-person exhibit includes works from coast to coast and features four Alberta-based creations.
“What you see here… is not just Indigenous hand-crafted masks. You also have several masks here from the non-Indigenous community. Breathe here has been a community endeavor.
“(These) are stories firsthand from artists in their own words of how they’re describing the pandemic, and their experience, and how they’ve coped,” Alexie said.
“It’s a story about resilience. It’s a story about hope, happiness, sadness.”
A virtual exhibit launched alongside Breathe on Wednesday, where people can learn more and see the artists’ work more closely.
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