Museum partners with Kay-nah-chi-wah-nung for new exhibit

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

The Fort Frances Museum and Kay-nah-chi-wah-nung Historical Centre (Manitou Mounds) have partnered together to bring an exhibit featuring bead art from around the area in both museums’ collections.

The exhibit, entitled “Tied Together” opens on Friday at the Fort Frances Museum and Cultural Centre and will move to Manitou Mounds in the spring.

According to Fort Frances Museum Curator Danielle Marshall, the idea behind the exhibit was to help brighten up the dreary winter months.

“We’ve been talking about it for a while, and it was sort of an idea to bring some colour into the drab January, February, March time of year,” Marshall said. “

Fox Gloves, by artisan Melanie Ewen is one of the many pieces to be featured in the upcoming exhibit “Tied Together.” – Melanie Ewan photo

Both museums have extensive collections which include many beaded pieces, each has contributed six pieces from their collections in addition to pieces which will be contributed by local beaders.

Four local beaders will contribute four pieces each, two of the beaders are Anishinaabe and two are Métis. The two Anishinaabe are the late Bella Hunter (née Bluebird) who was a traditional beader, Marshall says. At the opening, Hunter’s work will be spoken about by her son Art Hunter; Ashley Bombay is a local beader with a modern, contemporary flare, who can often be found at local events selling her work.

The Métis beaders featured in the exhibit are Melanie Ewen who uses more modern styles, according to Marshall, and Sarah Marusyk whose style is more traditional.

As part of sharing the materials in the exhibit, the display will make its way to Manitou Mounds in May.

When the Times spoke with Marshall she said plans were still ongoing but they hope to have an interactive side of the exhibit as well.

“We’re hoping to have an interactive element,” Marshall said. “Which we’re still sort of figuring out but people, if they’re beaders and they want to be inspired by the artwork, are going to be welcome to come in when the museum’s open and actually maybe do some beading surrounded by the artwork.”

The exhibit title “Tied Together” refers to how art– like beading for Anishinaabe and Métis cultures– can help people to connect and reconnect people with their cultural backgrounds.

The exhibit officially opens on Friday, Jan. 12 with an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. There will be light refreshments served and visitors will have the opportunity to meet and greet with some of the featured artists and see their work. The opening is free to attend and open to everyone.