Fish/Scale (2020)

ARTIST

Land Glitter (Erin Konsmo) (they/them)

Land Glitter is a Métis Prairie queer who grew up in central Alberta and is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Their mother’s Métis family is historically rooted in the Lac Ste Anne area west of Edmonton and St. Andrews, Manitoba. They presently live in Sioux Lookout, Treaty #3 with their Anishinaabe partner. Erin’s arts practice currently focuses on fish scale art, birch bark, textiles, and illustration. As a fish scale artist, Erin has been traditionally mentored by several senior Métis and Cree fish scale artists from northern Alberta. Erin’s work has been featured at Gallery 101 in Ottawa as part of the Asinabka Indigenous Film and Media Arts Festival, and Erin designed the book cover of Joshua Whitehead’s critically-acclaimed Jonny Appleseed. Their artistic work over the last ten years has been widely disseminated throughout grassroots movements supporting Indigenous feminisms and land defence.

LOCATION

Phar Syde Convenience
618 Main St.
Winnipeg, MB
Downtown
(South-facing wall)

ABOUT / ARTIST STATEMENT

Fish scale art is a contemporary Métis and Cree art form originating from northern Alberta that uses whitefish scales to create intricate florals. Erin Konsmo's (Alberta Métis) practice has been guided by experienced fish scale artists, and as a queer, new generation artist they seek to queer the artform by using fish scales in different forms and media. They also seek to queer fish scales by drawing parallels between this water based sparkle and queer aesthetics of glitter and sequins. Erin seeks to spotlight the importance of fish in a landscape where rivers and lakes are plentiful with a work titled Fish/Scale. The land today known as Winnipeg has been intrinsically shaped by the waterways that flow through it, and by bringing a whitefish to the urban landscape Erin hopes to call attention to a collective relationship with the fish that swim through Winnipeg. This art form is typically small in size and can be overlooked by larger scale works. This submission is as much about the importance of fish and waterways as it is a challenge to those who take in art to see small forms for their value.

Fish/Scale is a play on words, which suggest both the larger-than-life format of this piece, as well as the physical fish scales gifted from the whitefish which form the core of this artistic practice. Playing with the idea of size by blowing up fish scales to a mural format makes explicit the importance of both fish and the waters that many too often take for granted. Erin presently lives on their Anishinaabe partner’s territory in nearby Treaty #3 (Sioux Lookout), where they process whitefish for both food and art supplies, and the scales are then cleaned, sorted, and dyed so they can make florals such as those showcased in this mural. Participating in the Wall-to-Wall Mural and Culture Festival has given Erin the opportunity to take this micro art outside of its usual form into a macro scale. Keeping the design form simple to the silhouette of the fish and fish scale florals makes the fish the centre form of this mural. Erin wants the public who interact with this art to see the beauty of fish from a Métis form and feel as though they are connected to the waters in more urban areas of the city. Having a large scale whitefish, they hope to convey a sense of movement with the fish swimming through the urban landscape.

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