Collecting Sphagnum Moss by Morgan Possberg Denne

RISE Emerging Artist Exhibition


July 27 - August 27, 2023


Thursday, Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m.


Collecting Sphagnum Moss is a group of artworks made from different mediums and encompassing different volumes in space; serigraphy (screenprinting), paper making, sculpture, woodworking.

The intention of this collection of objects is to work through loss of knowledge and experiences due to loss of Indigenous parental lineage connections via the foster care system and adoption, and mourning what Indigenous familial relationships could have been if many of our parents weren’t suffering from PTSD and various other illnesses due to generational trauma and residential / day schools. While this can be heavy work, this exhibition also seeks to highlight the strength of the individual, the power of seeking out relationships and learning ancestral skills in an effort to reconnect and heal. The ability of oneself to determine their own future, despite the weight of history. 

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.

artsPlace RISE Emerging Artist Program is generously supported by

You May Also Like

See all
March 22 - April 16

Show. Tell. Share.

Local Music
April 20, May 5, June 2, July 28 and August 25

artsPlace Open Mic Nights *NEW*

Live Music
Saturday, May 13

Don Ross

Live Music
Saturday, August 26