Jeneen Frei Njootli: my auntie bought all her skidoos with bead money
Circulated by the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver)
Vuntut Gwitchin artist Jeneen Frei Njootli’s solo exhibition, my auntie bought all her skidoos with bead money, is comprised of four huge sheets of steel where we glimpse shadowy impressions left by hand-sewn beadwork created by the females in the artist’s family. The impressions, created by pressing into the artist’s skin, are then transferred via grease prints to the steel. As the exhibit continues its tenure, the art morphs in response to the changes in humidity and temperature. Jeneen performs I am she for the opening of the exhibition, bringing the artworks to life by imprinting another layer onto the steel plate. The artist sings to the metal. The sound of her voice mixed with the rattling of the metal is captured on a playback loop. The amplified rumbles fold over and over throughout the space, creating a sound that can be felt in the body.
Jeneen Frei Njootli has exhibited at Vancouver Art Gallery, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the Contemporary Native Art Biennial, as well as the Adäka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse and Indigenous Fashion Week in Vancouver and Toronto. She is a co-founder of the ReMatriate Collective, which is an online gathering to promote the sovereign and ethical representation of Indigenous women in media.
Image: wind sucked through bared teeth, 2017. Photo credit: Mike Love.