Métis artists share their ribbon skirts and culture in Saskatoon exhibit

Métis artists in Saskatchewan are combining their talents to explore their culture, showcase their ancestry and share the importance of ribbon skirts and shirts.

The exhibit at the Saskatchewan Craft Council (SCC) in Saskatoon in partnership with the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) showcases the ribbon skirt and shirt which is a staple in indigenous fashion.

Amy Briley, program coordinator with GDI said there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to creating a ribbon skirt.

“It’s not just sitting down at a sewing machine and just starting to sew,” said Briley. “The thoughts and ideas that are put into these skirts well in advance of even touching a sewing machine are really important.”

Briley has a skirt on display at the exhibit that she said is an honour of her cousin Megan Gallagher who went missing and was later determined to have been murdered.

When it comes to wearing the skirt, Briley said that she wears it whenever she is doing anything related to Megan. This includes awareness walks for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, any trials related to Megan’s death or when she wants to feel her cousin’s presence.

“This is the way I can have her close to me now that she’s no longer with us on this side,” she said.

Steph Canning, the exhibitions and education coordinator with SCC, said this isn’t the first collaboration they have completed with GDI.

“We were really excited to work with them again, to bring this ribbon skirt exhibition to life here in our gallery,” Canning said she looks forward to working with GDI on future exhibits as well.

The Saskatchewan Craft Council will be home to 24 ribbon skirts and three ribbon shirts until March 9.

The exhibit is free to attend Monday to Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Saskatchewan Craft Council gallery.

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