'Bundled Objects' - repurposed braided fabric, found cinder blocks, quartz. Photo credit: Isaac Forsland.

Holding the Hands of Her Ancestors

Audie Murray disrupts time in her creations
By Quill Christie-Peters

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The world feels like it moves so fast sometimes. Within the context of incessant settler colonial violence, hyper-production, and immersive capitalism, we are so often robbed of the kind of slowness that is required to build our world in alignment with all of our relations. Settler colonialism attempts to foreclose the possibilities for slowness that bring us closer to our ancestors, dreams, bodies, and hearts and within this context, to move slowly is an act of radical resistance and love for all of creation. To move slowly is to look down at your palms and see swirling stars, to visit the place inside of your heart, to spit out structured time so that you may dance upon its edges. To move slowly is to create in ways that may never take the form of a product, to create beyond the physical, to challenge the hollowness of capitalism by refusing to leave our expansiveness behind. Audie has allowed us to witness her practice of slowness, calling us to witness slowness as a practice of disruption, storytelling, love, and the creation of worlds where we may exist in fullness and complexity.
'T.P.'  - Toilet paper, seed beads, photo credit: Fazakas Gallery
'T.P.' - Toilet paper, seed beads, photo credit: Fazakas Gallery.
Settler colonialism attempts to foreclose the possibilities for slowness that bring us closer to our ancestors, dreams, bodies, and hearts and within this context, to move slowly is an act of radical resistance and love for all of creation.
"rooting gloves' detail shot -  seed beads, acrylic paint, leather.
"rooting gloves' detail shot - seed beads, acrylic paint, leather.
I come to engage with Audie’s work as a friend and relation. It is hard for me to separate this specific body of work from the entirety of how I know and am moved by Audie as a person. I think this sentiment is mirrored within this work as well- Audie’s creations cannot be separated from the whole and complex worlds that they are referencing. Ornate beadwork, stitching and leatherwork adorn utilitarian objects that reference important familial belongings for Audie and her family. The utilitarian nature of Audie’s creations communicate purpose and function, inviting the viewer to step into the complex worlds that necessitated these creations. A métis billy stick within a world of settler colonial violence, a chain in a world of unjust incarceration on stolen lands, garden gloves in a world of métis matriarchy, a familiar tune and the forced displacement of métis families. These belongings are then adorned with the love and care of Audie through the labour of her careful hands, bringing us into her intimate world as well. The violence of the settler colonial world becomes punctuated by the fierce laughter of Audie’s mooshum, the humming of Audie’s grandmother rests in her mind as she hooks together both past, present, and future. Audie’s creations bring us into worlds that traverse bodies and linear time, into worlds where ancestors are in conversation with the woman they prayed for.
Audie’s creations cannot be separated from the whole and complex worlds that they are referencing.
'for hambone, metis billy stick' - seed beads, brain tanned hide, leather, wood, acrylic paint, chain.
'for hambone, metis billy stick' - seed beads, brain tanned hide, leather, wood, acrylic paint, chain.
I have been a witness to Audie’s practice of slowness and deliberation, adornment, and creation. I have sat with Audie in process, have watched her secure beads on the leather sheath of the billy stick, have understood just how much time and effort is needed to sustain this type of labour. It is the slowness of this love-filled labour that brings us closer to our ancestors. Within the stillness, they visit us. Within the stillness, our minds rupture out of body and we dance with our expansiveness. I could feel the love that Audie has for her ancestors when I sat beside her in stillness. When I look at the finished works, I can see this love reflected so tangibly back at her from her ancestors. Weaving memory into object, love into adornment, past, present and future into a moment, Audie reminds me that we have always created art that disrupts linear time in order to be in dialogue with our ancestors and the great beyond. To move slowly is to let structured time fall off our bodies. To move slowly is to dance with our ancestors and the places we come from. To move slowly is to visit many places and people all at once, creating worlds in alignment with all that we come from and all that we are.
Audie reminds me that we have always created art that disrupts linear time in order to be in dialogue with our ancestors and the great beyond.
"Time gloves" detail -  seed beads, bugle beads, horsehair, photo credit: Isaac Forsland.
"Time gloves" detail - seed beads, bugle beads, horsehair, photo credit: Isaac Forsland.
Audie’s hands have suspended time in order to bring these worlds together for us. Beading, weaving, and sewing have always been simultaneously utilitarian, aesthetic and spiritual practices that are sustained through the labour of careful and loving hands. Audie’s hands have been guided so deliberately by her watchful ancestors and family. When I engage with this body of work, I am so grateful for Audie’s hands. Audie’s hands have disrupted linear time. Audie’s hands have met the guidance of her ancestors and family. Audie’s hands reach for her community. Audie’s hands have marked mine, opening them with tiny holes threaded with the love and light of both of our ancestors. And so, I am thinking about her hands so carefully holding mine and all that she has learnt in order to mark my hands. I am thinking about her hands reaching for her ancestors’ and all the prayers and laughter that went into sustaining this embrace. I am thinking about her hands so skillfully building worlds and all the labour that went into the construction of this future. I think about all that she has gone through, all of the weight of dark histories carried in body, all of the pain and struggle of the ones we love who came before us, all of the moments of sweet stillness and precious dialogue, all of the slowness required for this deep remembrance in body and heart that has allowed Audie to build such beautiful worlds for us.
Quill Christie-Peters Quill Christie-Peters is an Anishinaabe arts programmer and self-taught visual artist currently residing in Northwestern Ontario. She is Director of Education and Training for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, and creator of the Indigenous Youth Residency Program. Her written work can be found in GUTS Magazine and Tea N’ Bannock. Her visual work can be found at @raunchykwe. View bio.

Audie Murray is a multi-disciplinary artist that works with various materials including beadwork, quillwork, textiles, repurposed objects, drawing, performance, and video. She is Métis, raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, treaty 4 territory. View bio.