Fabric as truth teller.
“Broken Treaties” by Gina Adams is a display of quilts showing treaty promises made (and broken) by white settlers to Native Americans. Gina herself is descended from both sides of this divide.
If the lettering looks hard to read on the pattern…. this is intentional. Gina found the words used difficult and almost contradictory.
A quilt of course presents broken pieces of fabric put together. And a blanket was used by the white settlers as a ‘gift’ but also were instruments of death, as they were infected with European plagues.
“I’ve always had these two sides within me,” said Adams, “the inherited trauma of my American Indian ancestors, and also the colonizers, the founders of our country.”
Currently, five of Adams’s 16 completed quilts are on view in Its Honor is Here Pledged at Colorado’s Naropa University, where she is in residence. Throughout the course of the exhibition, she has offered weekly readings from the treaties, wrapping herself in the corresponding quilt — “language over language over language,” she called it. She hopes to eventually create a quilt for every recorded treaty. (more of this story at http://hyperallergic.com/361418/the-broken-promises-of-american-indian-treaties-sewn-onto-quilts/)
Here she is, reading a treaty….
(video on Youtube account of Neropa University)