Ursula Johnson: Cultural Cocoon

Basket Weaving (Cultural Cocoon) – Ursula Johnson- Multidisciplinary Mi’kmaq Artist 2016-04-14 10-18-39

Ursula Johnson, finalist for the 2017 Sobey Art Award, is an emerging performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry.  Her Basket Weaving (Cultural Cocoon) series is an avant-garde version of use of the traditional materials her family has worked with for generations. During the long, extended performances, she weaves a basket around herself.

One performance, for example, took place over 12 hours from daybreak to nightfall on Manitoulin Island using Georgian Bay to immerse the ash splints for pliability.

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When Johnson asked her great-grandmother, Master Basket-Weaver Caroline Gould, what she thought of the idea of weaving a basket around herself, her great-grandmother replied, “I’m just glad you’re weaving.”

Her work is much broader than this one performance and it’s well worth a look at her fascinating website, here.

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