Métis beadworker Jennine Krauchi honoured with prestigious art award

Jennine Krauchi praised for commitment to her craft and community.

For more than 40 years, Jennine Krauchi has dedicated her life to sharing the art of Métis beadwork with the world.

“There’s something about beadwork, and something about doing beadwork that just brings you back to who you are, and to be proud of who you are,” Krauchi said during an interview with APTN News.

This week, the Manitoba Arts Council honoured Krauchi with their 2024 Award of Distinction. The $30,000 prize is given annually to an artist who embodies excellence in craft and community service.

Audrey Dwyer, the council’s director of granting, said this made Krauchi the perfect candidate.

“When it comes to the Manitoba Arts Council, we want to award someone who not only exceeds artistic excellence, but also contributes to the development of art in Manitoba, which is something Jennine also does,” Dwyer said.

Krauchi, a Red River Métis woman, learned to bead by observing her mother, Jenny Meyer.

To date, Krauchi’s work has been displayed at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canadian Museum for Human Rights and on two Royal Canadian Mint collector’s coins.

However, in Canadian institutions, beadwork wasn’t always celebrated.

“Our beadwork was kept in drawers at museums, and every once in a while, somebody would be interested and pull that drawer out and have a look,” Krauchi said.

Jennine Krauchi
‘There’s something about beadwork, and something about doing beadwork that just brings you back to who you are,’ says Jennine Krauchi. Photo: Cierra Bettens/APTN.

Over the past several years, Krauchi has seen a surge of interest in beadwork–and more young people eager to learn.

In 2022, she and a host of Métis artists saw their work displayed in Kwaata-nihtaawakihk: A Hard Birth at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It was then that she knew there’d been a shift.

“There were other people in there too who were finally getting their pieces in art galleries, and exhibits,” she said. “It changed people’s outlook on the way beadwork was presented and looked at, and actually being looked at as more of an art form.”

In Krauchi eyes, beadwork is a collaborative medium. As she watches a new generation of beadworkers flourish, she dedicates the award to them, and the women who paved the way.

“The women that came before us that did this beautiful work…never got the recognition for it. So in a lot of ways, I dedicate this award to them because without them, I wouldn’t be doing what I do now.”

Next week, Krauchi’s work will be featured at the Radical Stitch exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, alongside creations by beadworkers from across North America.

Contribute Button