In tth’í’ yáw nan (thread beads land), Krystle Coughlin Silverfox overlays photography of the streets of Vancouver with scanned images of beads. Through this subject matter, Coughlin Silverfox conjures the long history of landscape painting and photography, but in the act of purposefully blurring and abstracting the scenes to create painterly and unspecific images of these sites, the artist simultaneously refuses this art historical tradition.
As an artist of the Selkirk First Nation, Coughlin Silverfox identifies beading as an important cultural practice for herself, as well as for many other Indigenous people. Indigenous cultures have used beads as ornament, as a means by which to record knowledge of the landscape, and also as trade items, imbuing them with both cultural and economic significance. In tth’í’ yáw nan, the artist uses beads as stand-ins for Indigenous people in landscapes that are otherwise devoid of figures. In literally placing beads over the landscape, Coughlin Silverfox points to the complicated history of the terrain in this region and the possibilities for a different, as yet to be imagined, future. By pointing to both the Western tradition of landscapes and the history of beading, this series simultaneously dismantles and extends cultural traditions.
Presented by Capture Photography Festival in partnership with Canada Line Public Art Program – InTransit BC