Collecting Sphagnum Moss by Morgan Possberg Denne
RISE Emerging Artist Exhibition
July 27 - August 27, 2023
Thursday, Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m.
The exhibition also explores Indigenous (Cree / Metis) gendered knowledge and tasks and how that relates to queerness and craft lineages. Many traditional tasks and knowledge are gendered; for example, in the making of a cradleboard, the woodworking is considered to be a masculine task, while the making of the moss bag which fits inside the cradleboard, and the collecting and drying of the moss which sits inside the moss bag are feminine tasks. Hunting, fishing, and drumming are often male bonding tasks, while gathering and post processing caught meat is usually a female bonding task. If one's Indigenous heritage is only with one family member, traditional knowledge from the opposite gender may not be passed down and will eventually (in that family line) be lost. This loss of a gendered line of knowledge can also be true for Two-spirit, trans, and queer Indigenous peoples - perhaps they learned knowledge for a gender that they no longer align with, or are unable to get the proper knowledge for the gender that they do align with.
Collecting sphagnum moss is a slow methodical process; picking out just the right pieces to act as a kind of diaper for your moss-bag bound child. In a way this reflects the experience of relearning ancestral skills and re-establishing connections.