Pê-mîciso (Cree language: come eat) is about the consumption of bodies, love, loss, and sources of life. It is also about decoloniality. This lens-based solo exhibition is comprised of two series of photographs by artist Marcy Friesen: Legacy (2021) and Pê-mîciso (2020). For Friesen, beadwork is about ancestral memories, family, and community. In this exhibition, beadwork is photographed as a cultural belonging. The work both honours and departs from its traditional symbolic representation, responding directly to Indigenous community and personal experience.
In Legacy (2021), the beadworks are manifested as Friesen’s emotional response to the unmarked graves unearthed at residential schools around Canada. Rage, empathy, sorrow, hope…these emotions all are beaded onto her emotionless face as an act of demonstration, an act of lament. In Pê-mîciso (2020), beadworks are also manifested as Friesen’s “healthy” and “unhealthy” diet – informed by both traditional and colonial traces: fish, crackers, and fried chicken are combined with beaded brooches into a collection of playful assemblages.
What is essential to Friesen’s art is an embodiment in which each lived experience and its sentimentality is rendered visible through the performance of beading. The exhibition provides an embodied experience in which visitors will encounter photographic series on two separate spatial dimensions: vertically, Legacy (2021) and horizontally, Pê-mîciso (2020). Simulating a supper setting, the viewer is invited to partake in an act of visual consumption, and a question is pointed to the viewer: who or what is being consumed in this supper – food? Body? Nature? Cultural symbolism? Ancestral imagery? And, who are the consumers?