Thursday, July 31, 2014
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PAMA opens new gallery of First Nations beadwork

Brampton Guardian

By Nouman Khalil

PEEL — The Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives’ (PAMA) opened up the doors of a new and contemporary exhibit yesterday where community member will be able to explore the fabulous beadwork of the First Nations.

The “Spirit Seeds: A Celebration of First Nations Beadwork” exhibition at the Community Connections Gallery features beautiful objects decorated with tiny beads called “Little Spirit” in some First nations languages.

Naomi Smith, a First Nations collector, displayed her large collection of artifacts in partnership with PAMA for the sole purpose of sharing them with residents of Peel region.

“I’m proud of my collection,” said Smith, “I am just the custodian and the whole idea of bring these artifacts at this exhibit is to share it with people.”

The tradition of beadwork grew when Europeans settlers used glass beads as an item of trade, inspiring a craft which is still an important part of Native life and artistic expression.

For the last 15 years, Smith has been collecting these artifacts through network of her fellow bead-lovers, antique shows and online auctions in New York state, the Maritimes and Northern Ontario.

“I started it at a small scale, but the more I learnt about the pieces, the more I was able to recognize that people didn’t know,” said Smith.

Marty Brent, manager of PAMA, encouraged Peel residents of all age groups to visit the gallery and explore the beautiful beadwork of First Nations.

“I think this exhibition is remarkable. It tells the story of First Nations great work.

“It (exhibition) appeals to both men and women. Many people think that beadwork is something that only women do, but actually it’s not. This exhibition is a fabulous demonstration of beadwork of both men and women,” said Brent.

The gallery is open until Oct. 13 at the PAMA location at 9 Wellington St. E. in Brampton.  

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