Lisa Shepherd and Nathalie Bertin co-created the "Breathe" project in 2020.
"Why am I not seeing beaded masks anywhere?" It was a simple question, one that Lisa Shepherd and her friend and fellow artist Nathalie Bertin both pondered in the same week back in April 2020. The coronavirus pandemic was affecting people across our country and around the world, and Nathalie and Lisa found themselves wanting to explore how artistic masks, in particular for them, beaded ones, were being used as a way of people expressing their experiences and struggles through this time.
And so began a simple Facebook group that they called, 'Breathe.' "We thought there might be interest from people just like us wanting to connect through artistic mask making. Apparently we were on to something! Less than two weeks later, our group had grown to over 1500 people!"
With such a large collection of this artwork being shared in their online community, potential buyers and galleries from around North America have started reaching out to Lisa and Nathalie. They invited submissions of masks from around the world to be part of a collection in a travelling exhibition.
As of July 2020, two venues have already confirmed to exhibit the 'Breathe' collection: The first one is Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff, AB), Nov. 2020 to Feb. 2021. The other venue is Kanata Centre at Martin Luther University College (Waterloo, ON), April 2021 - June 2021. Watch this space for updates on more locations for this exhibit in future!
Check out the 'Breathe' FACEBOOK GROUP for more details, and to connect with this growing online community.
NEW! Nathalie and Lisa are over the moon to share this CBC Arts article about 'Breathe' with you:
Lisa Shepherd was a contributing artist for the "Walking With Our Sisters" project. Walking With Our Sisters is a massive collaborative art installation project of over 1,700 pairs of moccasin tops (“vamps”) commemorating and representing an estimated 824 Aboriginal women and girls who have been murdered or gone missing in Canada since 1961. Lisa also ran a beading group in the Fraser Valley, BC to create vamps for the project. The commemorative exhibit was launched in the fall of 2013 and toured across Canada until 2019. Read more about Walking With Our Sisters - and how it pays tribute to Canada's Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women - HERE.