Fancy Shawl for the Frontlines
Tarp, fringe, ribbon
DescriptionMy work navigates the impacts of the body politic on living bodies, land, and culture. I work to contribute to an ending of violent tongues, knives and pens that cut apart land, culture, sex, and life. I work to expose oppressive ear and violence rooted in separation. My work celebrates the connection of land, water, and everything that depends on it. I weave, sew, cast, draw, sculpt, and perform tools for surviving current conditions and envisioning regenerative, intersectional, connected ways of being. The mixed materials and processes I create embody my mixed heritage; advocating for allegiance to land, water, and marginalized bodies in the face of continued state of violence and oppression. My works are containers for story, feeling, thought; images of what cannot be seen, and exercises for existence. Fancy Shawl for the Front lines is made for standing up to the elements, settler state, and corporate violence, and systemic institutional and environmental racism. The shawl honors Indigenous protectors of Land and Water throughout Turtle Island. Made from an inexpensive waterproof tarp, commonly used to shelter people and belongings from weather, and to construct shelters, tents, or tarpees, the material references access and necessity, resilience and persistence under oppressive or dire circumstances. The shawl is adorned with matching blue fringe and ribbon, to recognize the importance of celebrating and protecting Indigenous women as instrumental protectors of land, water, culture, and future generations. Indigenous women are on the frontlines, experiencing the violence, oppression, and racism of corporate settler states, and on the frontlines organizing to stop violence against land and water for future generations.
About this Artist
Merritt Johnson’s work is rooted in care and endurance; navigating periphery, division, connection and intersection. Her multidisciplinary works are signals and signifiers; containers for thought and feeling. For two decades she has worked to expose oppressive fear and violence rooted in separation, to end the oppression of bodies, land, sex, and culture; while envisioning regenerative, intersectional, connected possibilities centered in collective dependence on, and responsibility to Land and Water. Johnson is pan-sexual cis-gender woman of mixed descent, she is not claimed by, nor a citizen of any nation from which she descends. Her practice is a synthesis of necessity: refusing binaries, refusing fractions of division and control, she embraces the impossibility of disentanglement and the intersection of peripheral experiences. Johnson’s use of multiple materials and process is an affirmation of variance and a reflection of her insistence that a multiplicity of tools (and bodies to wield them) are needed to…View Full Artist Bio