We’ve been planning an Indigenous Peoples room for quite some time at Darlington Gallery. This winter, with COVID-19 forcing us to close, seemed like a great opportunity to get shifting things around. We have a major project that we work on every winter. This year we had the added challenge of working with next to no income, so we had to work with what we had. It was an entirely different sort of challenge! How do we make this dream come to life?
First of all, we had to scale it down. Originally we had planned to make the room more than double the size this one. We’d even got as far as painting it. As time goes by, we might shift back to the original plan. This smaller room is a great start for now, though.
Finding the goods to fill the room was no problem. We’ve always kept an interesting supply of First Nations related stock on hand. As you know from scouting out our site or visiting the brick and mortar location, we have a large collection of art by regional Indigenous artists, and a few items from further afield, too. Elizabeth Campbell Books (one of the gallery partners) has a deep stacks of books featuring North American archaeology (over 2000 titles), and more books on the culture, history, current issues, traditional material, and arts and crafts of our First Peoples, not to mention a variety of children’s titles focusing on Turtle Island’s inhabitants. Elizabeth has also stirred in a collection of ‘Indspired’ stationery: journals, notebooks, and cards. The bookshop has also combined with Lavand Art to bring in a great selection of clothing featuring Indigenous art, and we have added to that a wide variety of giftware with like themes.
Of course the room is too small to hold all of our First Nations stock. We now have a deep stock of beading supplies for FN beaders to work with. We have everything from rhinestone banding to hairbonepipes, from seed beads to delicas, needles and stringing materials to moose hide and rabbit fur, buffalo horns to cowrie shells… and the list goes on. If we haven’t got it, ask and we should get it in a week or two.
More and more regional beaders are bringing us their finished goods for sale, too. We think you’ll find their product classically fashionable, colourful with a flare that the First Nation cultures embrace and make their own. It’s distinctive and incredibly beautiful. We will keep updating our online beadwork gallery, so visit it often if you can’t visit us in person.
And the art… It’s everywhere in here. Anytime you need a stress break in Kenora, please come visit us and spend a little time taking it in. It really does give a little lift to your day! You can also see some of our holdings in the Profiles section of our site, under the GALLERY NEWS tab. Contact Us if you see something you’d like shipped, need more information or help. We can do that.