From September 22nd, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is presenting the Canadian premiere exhibition of Sho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery. On view until June 5, 2022, the solo exhibition by award-winning designer, artist, and activist Sho Sho Esquiro showcases meticulously crafted couture gowns, raw textiles, paintings and photographs to celebrate the beauty, strength and resilience of First Nations communities in the face of historical and ongoing trauma.
Curated by Miranda Belarde-Lewis, Sho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery inspires conversations around genocidal colonial practices, confronts the theft and murder of Indigenous women and children, and honours activists on the front lines.
“This powerful and vital exhibition of contemporary fashion sheds an urgent light on the devastating impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery, an international law which influenced European settlers to believe they had dominion over the lands and Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere,” says Belarde-Lewis. “Through Esquiro’s artful storytelling using a variety of materials, including those sustainably sourced from her Yukon homelands, visitors are asked to confront and learn about challenging truths in Canadian history that still have catastrophic consequences to this day. These truths showcase how systemic and structural racism caused persistent and deliberate Indigenous rights violations. Given the ongoing recovery of Indigenous children at the sites of former residential ‘schools’ coupled with the ongoing fight against corporate extraction of natural resources, Sho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery shares a critical perspective on the lived experiences of First Nations communities in unexpected ways.”
The exhibition features a collection of the artist’s contemporary gowns and outfits, crafted using trade cloths, furs, leathers, hides, beads and shells sourced directly from the Yukon. As well, the exhibition is enhanced through several multimedia elements; video, paintings, photographs including items from the artists personal family collections and archives to honour her family, community and culture.
Sho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery, will be supported by a series of added events including the Bill Reid Gallery’s exhibition opening on September 21 at 6pm, on Facebook Live. Curatorial tours, workshops related to clothing, weaving, and textiles; and an artist talks will also be part of the programming. A 60-page, full-colour catalogue with curator and guest essays will be published in mid-November. For details of the exhibition and a full list of the surrounding events, and registrations, visit billreidgallery.ca