Naomi Smith

Honouring Our Medicines

Artist Statement

Honouring Our Medicines • A Mask Project
This project began as a reflection of things that are important to me. As a Woodlands Indigenous person one of my favourite things are Strawberries. Strawberries are the first fruit that nourishes us after the long winter. As a child some of my fondest memories revolve around walking in the meadows collecting up the tiny wild Strawberries that were abundant during the early weeks of summer. I recall always looking forward to picking farm fresh Strawberries. These were such happy days.

The teachings I was gifted with tell how plants are our Medicines. They bring us nourishment and healing. Strawberries signal the end of winter into the season of abundance. Ancestors knew the Strawberries were important. I also wanted to honour the bees and I included tiny bees on each side of my mask. We cannot survive without our plants. Bees help the plants which in turn helps us. The enduring cycle of life is what I was thinking of while creating my piece. My mask was constructed during the Strawberry season, and moon. I wanted to honour this by adding Strawberries into my design along with a white bloom that is represents the Strawberry flower. The summer is such a beautiful time of the year.

Many of us are missing some of summer due to Covid19. I have been inside our house for months. I like that I can preserve our Traditions from a contemporary perspective, I think our Ancestors would have made their own masks too if this was an important part of life.
Thankfully I have my beading to keep me in a good mind. Beading is relaxing for me, it feeds my Spirit and acts as a canvas of expression, where I can tell my stories and share the traditions of my people. Our Indigenous art is meant to preserve and remind us of these important acts of life.

Naomi Smith Honouring Our Medicines

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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