Métis artist brings message of hope, healing to museum

The Métis sculptor and artist behind the #hopeandhealingcanada project hopes her installation at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre will spark meaningful conversations surrounding reconciliation and decolonization.

The project by Tracey-Mae Chambers invites visitors to engage with the idea of connection, asking how communities can move forward to heal and support one another through traumatic and life-altering events.

“I grew up as a stranger to my own story; adopted and re-named, grafted into a new family tree. The discovery in adulthood of my Ojibwa-Métis heritage was a revelation that set me on a path of discovery,” Chambers says in her biography. Her family is from and some still reside in the Métis community in Sault Ste. Marie and Penetanguishene.

Chambers hopes her installations will encourage discussion about decolonization in spaces that have traditionally only presented a colonial viewpoint. She is travelling across Canada and the U.S. creating art installations at residential school historical sites, cultural centres, museums, art galleries and other public spaces.

She uses large premade crochet and knit pieces made with red yarn to symbolize threading connections between people, communities and the environment. The colour red represents blood, passion, anger, courage and love. No two installations are alike. “Working in beeswax as a sculptural medium is a concept I have developed based on the tradition of encaustic painting,” Chambers explains.

“This special medium is wonderfully pliable and responsive when heated and results in a finished object with a delicate scent and a soft, magical, tactile quality.” She installed her artwork in the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre’s Bogarttown Schoolhouse on September 6. It will remain on display through December 6, after which Chambers will collect the red string to use in her next exhibition.

To learn more about Chambers and the #hopeandhealingcanada project, visit www.traceymae.com.

Photo courtesy of the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre.

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