Artist Statement

Feathered bustle with small video screen in the middle and a long beaded train

“My visual art practice is a response to the impact of the digital age and how it exponentially transforms and infuses Anishinaabeg culture with new technologies and new ways of communicating. My work is known for its signature style of transformation and recontextualization of traditional objects drawn from historic Anishinaabeg material culture, such as textiles. I deliberately push the boundaries of cultural art practices such as beadwork by transforming antiquated electronic e-waste, primarily capacitors, resistors, and light-emitting diodes to create new and complex floral motifs that mirror traditional Anishinaabeg style glass beadwork. Through an up-cycling of e-waste, I carefully yet respectfully negotiate the tenuous line of cultural continuity and strive to maintain a distinct Anishinaabeg aesthetic as an intentional response to the advance of technological colonization of the digital age.”

Barry Ace (2023)

“The otter, Ace’s doodem (clan) was an important messenger for the Anishinaabeg. Similarly miigis, little sea shells called cowry, a cousin of esiins (freshwater clam, which was historically spelt as Assance and Ace, Barry’s surname), play an important role in mnemonically recalling Anishinaabe history and cultural teachings, thus by virtue of his doodem (clan) and his surname, Barry is perhaps predisposed to encode these teachings in new media for this generation.”

Dr. Alan Corbiere (M’Chigeeng First Nation), an excerpt from Mnemonic (Re)Manifestations essay, Wanuskewin Heritage Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (2016).