Breathe: Creating resilience through traditional art

In times of crisis, creativity inspires healing. The 45 hand-crafted masks of Breathe were created during the first wave of COVID-19. Métis artists Nathalie Bertin and Lisa Shepherd noticed an absence of beaded objects being made by traditional artists, particularly any new objects influenced by the pandemic. In speaking with peers, it seemed the pandemic had completely blocked them of their ability to create, as if holding their creative breath. Nathalie and Lisa invited artists to create masks that would become artifacts to record a significant historical moment in human history.

Each traditionally crafted mask tells a unique story of the artist’s experience. Collectively, they teach us the power of community. Throughout history, infectious disease has gravely impacted First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. These masks share themes of strength, healing and resilience in a time of pandemic.

December 7, 2021 to April 22, 2022