France Poliquin

Standing in Line

Artist Statement

Standing in Line Third world war is declared and we are all at war against a Virus. It’s a Pandemic, which is what, what does that mean really. I start knitting to past the time, I read books, but this is not feeding my soul. I am watching the news, not understanding what is this all about. The first time I am expose to something similar is when I am in my early 20s and I teach in Constant Lake treaty no 9. Hepatitis C is among the children and the adults are scared. At the time the Federal Government runs the school and we are lucky since they send a group of two nurses that check each child. We are asked to get the vaccine for Hepatitis C I refuse I just don’t believe in it. I was learning bead working then and I remember that this practice had filled my soul while I did get sick with rheumatism fever, which is in the same family as Hepatitis C; I did beading to get my soul filled with colours and create different small beading projects. Now I am 67 years old all these memories come back to me and I am asking myself how did I deal with the situation almost 50 years ago. I start observing the people around me what is going on, the halls are empty we are not allowed to go to our common activity room, the door is wrap with a yellow ribbon boned with danger. At the beginning you are sort of paranoid about meeting someone in the hallway, especially a stranger. The only strangers coming in our 60 and up social housing are Home Care workers visiting three out of 31 persons twice or three times a day. I am watching these strangers with a critical eye what if, what if, what if? Why are they always different? After two weeks I am out of fresh produces, ok, now how are we suppose to get those if we are not suppose to go out? Ok I hear on the news that if we must go out shopping to do so early in the morning. To my surprise when I get to the grocery store there is a line up of white hair mostly women. We all have a worried face, some have a mask and some do not, but we are all in line waiting being patient. This makes me nervous because we do not know what this virus is all about. Are we lining up to get the virus, are we lining up to die? Is the virus here, right here creping up my pants or my sleeves where is it? In my hair, on my hands or on my shoes I pray to Mother Earth to help me cope with this enemy, this invisible enemy. April 07 Paula 85 years old passes away Covid 19. April 10 Judith 77 years old passes away Covid 19 April 15 Monique 79 catches Covid 19 is very sick I have to do something with my hands to keep them busy so I do not get scared and panic. Tout va bien allé, it will be fine. Beading, yes I have to start a project. I made some cloth masks for my brother and his partner and I sold a few at the residence where I live, but I must be part of something to help me cope with this Pandemic. I discover BREATH on CBC Indigenous but it is a close group and quite difficult to find. There is so much happening about breathing; I have asthma, this black man dyes because he cannot breathe. Wearing the mask keep me from breathing properly, I will survive this craziness. The Mask: I decided to make a mask that tells a story of three women of different nationality who wait in line since everywhere they go there is a line up. This is quite sad to see all these older people waiting in line for their meals, to take their weight and for their medication and to finally to pass. The colours I have use for the beading project is very symbolic to me. Pink that represents friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace, and approachability. My ladies are surrounded by the colour green, which symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. And to finished we have the colour blue that symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

France Poliquin Standing in Line

111 Bear Street, Banff, Alberta, T1L 1A3, Canada

T: 1 403 762 2291   

E: info [at] whyte.org

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The Whyte Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of The Peter and Catharine Whyte Foundation and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts

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