The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters
Directed by Christine Welsh
Wednesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m.
2nd floor, 290 McDermot Avenue
Free Admission – Open to all!
This film screening is presented in conjunction with Gallery 1C03's current programming initiative The Ephemerals: Trending. Trending began as a four-day performative embedment on The University of Winnipeg campus by The Ephemerals, an all-female Aboriginal collective of artists and curators. By inserting themselves into the university community, The Ephemerals have explored the trend of Indigenously-influenced clothing and accessories among post-secondary students, encouraging a critical reading of fashion as codified text and highlighting the need for a deeper awareness of its cultural implications. Further supporting this project is an ongoing intervention in the public display windows of the university’s Anthropology Museum, drawing from and responding to the Anthropology Department’s Ethnographic Collection, as well as a blog: www.theephemerals.wordpress.com.
Written and directed by Christine Welsh, The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters (Canada, 2000) draws attention to the identity of the creators of much-loved (and much-replicated) Cowichan sweaters. For almost a century, the Coast Salish knitters of southern Vancouver Island have produced Cowichan sweaters from handspun wool. These distinctive sweaters are known and loved around the world, but the Aboriginal women who make them remain largely invisible. Combining rare archival footage with the voices of three generations of woolworkers, The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters tells the tale of unsung heroines – resourceful women who knit to put food on the table and keep their families alive. This is a story of courage and cultural transformation – a celebration of the threads that connect the past to the future.
Christine Welsh is a Métis filmmaker, feminist and academic in Canada. She has produced, written and directed films for more than 30 years. Welsh's film credits include the 2006 National Film Board of Canada documentary Finding Dawn, about murdered and missing Canadian Aboriginal women. She is a resident of Saltspring Island. Welsh is an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria, where she teaches courses in Indigenous Women’s Studies.
Please stay after the film for some refreshments and discussion!
Gallery 1C03 gratefully acknowledges financial support of The University of Winnipeg and the Manitoba Arts Council for making this program possible. We are also grateful for the support of aceartinc.
Image: Scene from The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters, a film by Christine Welsh. Courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.