In Blankets, Herds and Ghosts

The present edition of Dazibao satellite is the result of a special partnership between Dazibao and the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels). In Blankets, Herds and Ghosts is a new work by multidisciplinary artist and choreographer Lara Kramer.

“This is a practice of labour, of love, and mobility. A practice that works with our soft hands, hard hands, our ancestor hands. A practice for sharing, in the way that kinship positions us in relation to past, present and future voices, territories, one another and other, memories, traditions, stories, materials, sound and spirit. The practice is durational but offers an experience of non-time. It proposes a pacing and invitation for embodiment, a connection to prayer, healing, creation, memory and reflection on past, present and future. A practice of deepening the intergenerational knowledge that comes from my mother, my children, family and kin, all in dialogue with one another.

The process and care involved in how we position the blanket and jingles together has become the anchor of the work. What traces do we leave for upcoming generations to reflect upon? How are the ways we continue to assert our existence through generational time, upholding our agency with care? What are the invisible and visible energies and dreams that we weave, that pave healthy foundations for future generations?

In a time where we are confronted with a pandemic, the materials of the Trade Blanket and jingles resurfaced intuitively. Trade Blankets hold a multi-dimensional meaning, used in ceremony and trading of goods, and also used for warmth. And they were used in the spreading of smallpox for the purpose of eradicating Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. The Jingle Dress was visioned and created during the time of the Spanish Flu, a tumultuous time, carrying healing, meaning and knowledge of treatment and care. The sounds and textures of the jingles offer a unique soundscape that differs from the soft sound of the blankets. Exploring the sound of blanket and jingles offers further extension of voice(s), dream(s), vision(s) and histories.

In relation to the natural elements and gifts of mother earth, our creator allows for voice to continue emerging. Performance in photography opens up to further mobility, growth. The images are not static. They speak and are connected to a blood memory. What has yet to be discovered through the experience of transformation, in relation to the practice and process of the work is on-going. A living breathing creation.”

— Lara Kramer

Emerson Nanigishki’ing is an Elder, Knowledge Keeper and Language carrier. He is a historian in pow wow song and dance, and a historian of Mnjikaning and Chippewas of Rama Mnjikaning First Nation Anishinaabe Community and a member. He has worked at the Native Friendship Centre in Thunder Bay, Barrie and Toronto as well as Union of Ontario Indian.

Emerson Nanigishki’ing is a noted Elder for Rama First Nation and Healer of Anishinaabe spirit. He was the appointed Elder for Lara Kramer’s work Eating bones and Licking bread that premiered in January 2020 in Toronto.

Stefan Petersen is a settler and multidisciplinary artist, based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, unceded Mohawk Territory.

Feeling lucky to be a part of this important collaboration, Stefan Petersen has an art practice which centres around digital image creation, as well as long-standing, if sporadic, involvement in performance, installation and textile work.

Currently exploring contemporary instances of temporary structures on the edges of public/private space and whether mobile shelters might provide an opportunity to re-conceptualize eurocentric norms of property ownership, Petersen’s work endeavours to ask questions about the role of settlers in a late colonial context and their myriad responsibilities toward supporting inclusivity and fighting disenfranchisement through ongoing colonial policies.

He is a regular collaborator with Lara Kramer, most notably with the performance/installation Phantom stills and Vibrations (2018).

© Lara Kramer, In Blankets, Herds and Ghosts (2021). Installation views on the façade of Café Cherrier and the Bonsecours Market, Dazibao, 2021. Photo: Manoushka Larouche.

Two new public billboard works, located on the façades of Café Cherrier and the Bonsecours Market.

Two public billboards, located at Café Cherrier and Marché Bonsecours, feature images of Kramer cloaked in a Trade Blanket designed and fabricated collaboratively with her mother and artist, Ida Baptiste. The images were created in collaboration with photographer Stefan Petersen and are accompanied by a podcast including conversations between Lara Kramer, Ida Baptiste, as well as Anishinaabe Elder Emerson Nanigishki’ing. The project also comprises a selection of texts, including a prayer and a historical text contextualizing the Trade Blanket and Jingle Dress.

Conceived, textile design, scenography and performer
Lara Kramer
Visual artist, textile design and creation
Ida Baptiste
Elder and Anishinaabe knowledge keeper
Emerson Nanigishki’ing
Stefan Petersen
This project was presented by Dazibao, in collaboration with the MAI.


Native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ida Baptiste is an artist and retired Ojibwa language teacher based in Rama, Ontario. She is a member of Berens River First Nation, Manitoba, Treaty 5 and presently living in Chippewas of Rama Mnjikaning First Nation, Ontario, Williams Treaties First Nation. She attended Fanshawe College for Fine Arts as well as the Beal Art program in London, Ontario. In 2004 she completed her BA in Native Studies at Trent University, and subsequently attended Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute at M’Chigeeng First Nation, Mniddo Mnising Manitoulin Island, Ontario.

Ida Baptiste’s early artwork was widely shown between 1975 and the early 90’s in Ontario. Her works are displayed across Turtle Island and have been a part of major museum exhibitions. Her artistic practice is primarily in traditional contemporary art, beading and making regalia. Between 2011-2019 Ida Baptiste worked as an Ojibwa language teacher at Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary school in Rama. She is a traditional pow wow dancer.

© 2024 Lara Kramer