Canadian Art - - Generously Supported By Rbc -

Jessie Short is a Métis per­for­mance artist, writer, cu­ra­tor and film­maker cur­rently liv­ing in Calgary. Frus­trated by ig­no­rance of Métis iden­tity as dis­tinct, Short en­gaged film and per­for­mance in a state­ment of pres­ence at M:ST Fes­ti­val in Calgary in Oc­to­ber 2016. In her per­for­mance We’ve (2016), Short fin­ger-weaved a neon-coloured Métis sash onto the arm of a statue of well-known Cana­dian Nel­lie Mcclung, a women’s-rights ac­tivist and suf­frag­ist. (Mcclung was one of the “Fa­mous Five” who ini­ti­ated the Per­sons Case of 1928–29, grant­ing women the le­gal sta­tus of “per­sons” un­der the Bri­tish North Amer­ica Act. Yet Mcclung and the in­ter­na­tional suf­frag­ist move­ment also tended to ex­clude In­dige­nous women and women of colour.) Weav­ing the neon yarn onto the wrist of the statue—which can only be re­moved if cut away—short used her unique take on tra­di­tional prac­tice to as­sert pres­ence and be­long­ing as a Métis woman. The video in­stal­la­tion ac­com­pa­ny­ing the per­for­mance, Wake Up! (2015), doc­u­ments the artist as she trans­forms her­self into Métis leader Louis Riel. In an­other, longer ver­sion of the video, a voiceover asks, “Do you know who Métis peo­ple are? Have you heard of Louis Riel? Well, I’m kind of like him.” Short ap­pro­pri­ates the im­age of Riel to make her voice heard and to, in her words, “make Métis real for peo­ple.”

Jessie Short Wake Up! (pro­duc­tion still) 2015 HD/4K video 5 min 58 sec PHOTO ALEXAN­DER SAKAREV

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