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Amanda Roy

Wild Roses

Artist Statement

Boozhoo, my name is Amanda Roy and I am Anishinaabek, bear clan from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island where I was born and raised. I am currently living and working in Montreal, Quebec, on Mohawk territory. I’d never made a mask before let alone done birch bark etching. Last Winter I participated in building two birch bark canoes so I had some knowledge of working with birch bark, spruce roots, and pine sap. I had asked the elder who was teaching us to build the canoes how to do etching and he took a scrap of bark, sprayed it with water, then scratched it with his pocket knife and said there you go. The mask featuring a wild rose was my first attempt at birch bark etching and mask making. I had seen people making their own masks with beadwork and was struck by how the shape of them from the side looked very similar to the bow of a canoe. I started thinking how it would be cool if someone made one out of birch bark then the more I thought of it, the more I thought well, why not give it a shot. The problem being, living in downtown Montreal during a pandemic that had shut the city down, and not knowing where to find materials. I started thinking of places close by, parks, trails, and other green spaces where I had seen trees and what variety I had seen. I set out to the park by my place and the walking trail close by and little by little I found what I needed. All materials for these masks with the exception of the deer hide ties have been found and foraged from downtown Montreal. Each mask is made with birch bark, cedar wood to support the nose bridge from neighbourhood hedges, sap and roots from the walking trail by my apartment, deer hide from my mother, and sweetgrass for the edging. Roots were used to sew the two parts together with a sap/bear fat mix to seal the seams and further support the shape of the masks. I chose to use a wild rose for the first mask because all along the walking trails by my apartment there are wild roses growing wherever the city left spaces between their manicured flower gardens. It’s an interesting contrast to these manufactured spaces to have wild roses growing wherever they please, how they please, despite attempts to control and groom these uniform spaces.

Amanda Roy Wild Roses
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