ACE’S SPIRIT VESSEL IN UPCOMING EXHIBITION AT THE MEG IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Ace’s Spirit Vessel is included in the upcoming exhibition Environmental Injustice – Indigenous Peoples’ Alternatives to be held September 24, 2021 to August 21, 2022 at the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève (MEG) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Musée d’ethnographie de Genève (MEG) is one of the most important ethnographic museums in Switzerland, housing one of the country’s two most important ethnographic collections. Situated in the heart of the city of Geneva, the MEG won the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award in 2017. The MEG’s expansive permanent collection consists of over 70,000 objects spanning five continents. Each exhibition that is curated by the institution is complemented by full cultural and educational programming, guided visits in several languages, and a program of events, meetings, conferences and film projections. The MEG is also currently in the process of an institutional name change.

Environmental Injustice – Indigenous Peoples’ Alternatives is a brand new and dynamic exhibition that seeks to examine the strategies developed by Indigenous Peoples to mitigate the impacts of environmental degradations accelerated by climate change on their territories. It aims to discuss the leadership role of Indigenous Peoples in the field of climate change through their ways of knowing, sciences and unique philosophical conception that places human beings in a relationship of reciprocal responsibility with other human and non-human entities.

The  exhibition will include Ace’s work Spirit Vessel that is on loan to the MEG from the North American Native Museum (NONAM) in Zurich, Switzerland. The work addresses the notion of the on-going cultural continuity of the Anishinaabeg. NONAM acquired Ace’s Spirit Vessel for their permanent collection in 2018, and the work was inspired by a Menominee otter pouch in the permanent collection of NONAM. Prior to entering the NONAM collection, Spirit Vessel was first featured in the group exhibition Always Vessels, organized by Anishinaabe and Kanien’kehá:ka curator Alexandra Kahsenni:io Nahwegahbow for the Carleton University Art Gallery in 2017, subsequently touring to Rodman Hall Art Gallery, Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario.

Commenting on Ace’s work Spirit Vessel in the Always Vessels exhibition catalogue, Kahsenni:io Nahwegahbow states:

“The otter is a very meaningful animal for the Anishinaabe. Our histories illustrate that the otter, a kind and caring being, was entrusted with bringing healing and helpful substances to humans and medicine people. “Spirit Vessel” echoes early otter skin bags that were made to carry and protect important bundles and cherished items.

The otter’s tail is ornamented with electronic components applied in floral motifs. Echoing an Anishinaabe visual language of beadwork that reflected energy transfer and interconnectivity in the natural world of medicinal plants, Ace’s newly translated florals are composed of capacitors, resistors, and circuit boards— contemporary media that are likewise used to store, release and transmit energy. With a feather plume emanating from his mouth signifying breath, and exquisite circuit boards for tiny paws that recall stars and celestial bodies in the sky, this otter bag honours the travels of custom across time and space.”

Press Release (here).