window Winnipeg: WINNIPEG'S ONLY 24 HOUR ARTIST-RUN CENTRE PRESENTS MERRITT JOHNSON
Location: Artspace Building, corner of Bannatyne @ Arthur
window is pleased to present our fiftieth installation: Fancy Shawl for the frontlines, 2020 by Merritt Johnson on view until December 6, 2020.
Activation by Jaime Black: details TBD
Conversation between Merritt Johnson & Jaime Black: https://vimeo.com/468171644
Fancy Shawl for the frontlines is made for standing up to the elements, settler state and corporate violence, and systematic institutional and environmental racism. The shawl honors Indigenous protectors of Land and Water throughout Turtle Island.
Made from an inexpensive waterproof tarp, commonly used to shelter people and belongings from weather, and to construct shelters, tents or tarpees, the material references access and necessity, resilience and persistence under oppressive or dire circumstances.
The shawl is adorned with matching blue fringe and ribbon, to recognize the importance of celebrating and protecting Indigenous women as instrumental protectors of land, water, culture, and future generations. Indigenous women are on the frontlines, experiencing the violence, oppression and racism of corporate settler states, and on the frontlines organizing to stop violence against the lands and waters for present and future generations.
Merritt Johnson was born in West Baltimore and spent her childhood navigating between trees, tarps and concrete. She earned her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art. For decades her work has navigated the spaces between bodies and the body politic, land and cultures.
The multiplicity of materials and processes Johnson employs reflect her multiplicity. Her work is layered, insisting on allegiance and agency to land, water, culture, and bodies subjected to violence and control by anthropocentric, cis-hetero patriarchy and white supremacy.
Johnson's works are containers for story, feeling and thought: images of what cannot be seen, exercises for existence, and containers for ideas. Her work casts light and shadow on how and who we are, and envisions possibility. Johnson's work is in numerous private collections as well as the public collections of the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, she lives and works with her family in Sitka Alaska.
window is located on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples and the homeland of the Metis Nation.
Window is co-curated by Noor Bhangu, Mariana Muñoz Gomez, and Sarah Nesbitt. This installation was made possible with the generous support from the Winnipeg Arts Council and the Manitoba Arts Council.