Featured Image: Five Hoops (2022) [detail], Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Quillwork on paper, 22 x 15 in

Backwards and Forwards:
Reflections in Porcupine Quills

Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Curated by Aram Han Sifuentes
July 27 – September 17, 2022

Gallery Hours: Wednesday, Friday & Saturday | 10:00-3:00pm
Walk-ins only (No reservation needed!)

Opening Reception: Saturday July 30, 2022 | 1:00-3:00pm

Backwards and Forwards: Reflections in Porcupine Quills features recent quillworks (2020-present) by Vanessa Dion Fletcher. These works range from intimate pieces on paper to large mural installations. At the core is a negotiation between the artist’s hands and porcupine quills. She pulls them from the body of a porcupine, stains them using natural and synthetic dyes, handpicks each quill based on its color, shape, and size, and bends them onto paper with thread. The building up of the quills form abstract shapes and lines that are elemental and can be interpreted in multiple ways, where a circle in quillwork can represent time, a color wheel, and a portal all at once. 

Slowness is an important political aspect of Dion Fletcher’s practice. The making is inherently slow, and the intended experience for the viewers is also slow, where one slowly follows the lines and details of the quillwork and gradations of color. Slowness is also a reflection on neurodiversity, where ‘being slow’ is a derogatory term used for those who are neurodiverse. In emphasizing slowness through porcupine quills, Vanessa Dion Fletcher claims indigeneity in process and craft but also approaches and understandings of neurodiversity and disability. Backwards and Forwards, in title, not only suggests a reverse way of reading, but also a looking back to be able to move forward. 

Click here to read the full exhibition essay, written by Aram Han Sifuentes. 

Artist Bio

Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse Artist. Her family is from Eelūnaapèewii Lahkèewiitt (displaced from Lenapehoking) and European settlers. She employs porcupine quills, Wampum belts, and menstrual blood, to reveal the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. Reflecting on an Indigenous and gendered body with a neurodiverse mind, Dion Fletcher creates art using composite media, primarily working in performance, textiles, and video.  
 
She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance at York University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She has exhibited across Canada and the USA, at Art Mur Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver, and the Satellite Art show in Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape, Seneca College, and the Archives of American Art.  

Curator Bio

Aram Han Sifuentes is a fiber and social practice artist who creates participatory projects that center immigrant and disenfranchised communities. Her work often revolves around skill sharing, specifically sewing techniques, to create multiethnic and intergenerational sewing circles, which become a place for empowerment, subversion, and protest. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago), Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis), moCa Cleveland (Cleveland), and Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles). 

Aram is a 2016 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, 2016 3Arts Award and 2021 3Arts Next Level Awardee, 2020 Map Fund Grantee, and 2022 Joyce Award Recipient. Her project Protest Banner Lending Library was a finalist for the Beazley Design Awards at the Design Museum (London, UK) in 2016. She earned her BA in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently a professor, adjunct, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a board member of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) fighting for Citizenship for All 11 million undocumented immigrants and adoptees. 

Virtual Gallery

Explore the exhibition in The Aurora Town Hall Gallery Space in this 360 Virtual Gallery. Feel like you’re there in person as you travel through the exhibition, seeing the scale of the artworks and how as they speak to each other.

To use the Virtual Gallery:

  • Click or tap to explore and/or drag to look around
  • Click on the blue circles for the label information for each artwork
  • For the best viewing experience, we recommend using a desktop computer and Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browser
  • Please visit the Photo Gallery to experience the full impact of the original artworks

Photo Gallery 

  • Click the thumbnail image to enlarge the image and to see the label information
  • Use the arrows on either side of the enlarged image to scroll through the gallery
  • To view as a slideshow, click the play button in the top right hand corner
  • For the best viewing experience, we recommend using a desktop computer and Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browser

Art Bytes

Enhance your gallery experience with these activities and videos! We invite you to join us for an insider look into the creative process. Art Bytes is an online series that includes conversations with the exhibiting artists, behind-the-scene videos and family friendly art demos. Visit our Art Bytes page for current videos and activities.

Art Bytes

Frequently Asked Questions

This exhibition is for showing only. No artwork is available for purchase.

The Aurora Cultural Centre gallery team is the main contact for all gallery related questions and will get back to you via email within 2 business days. You can email the gallery at info@auroraculturalcentre.ca and you may include your phone number if you prefer.

Yes!  The exhibition is installed at the Aurora Town Hall at 100 John West Way, as well as existing as an online exhibition.  In person visits are allowed on Wednesday, Fridays or Saturdays between 10am-3pm. Drop-in’s only, no reservation needed!

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!