Katherine Boyer, The Sky Vest (detail), 2021. Seed beads on smoked moosehide.

Radical Stitch

Beading is one of the defining mediums of contemporary Indigenous art on this continent, and this landmark exhibition brings much-needed critical attention to the breadth and impact of this practice.

From early beads made of seeds and shells, to trade beads and computer pixels, Indigenous artists have long used beadwork to tell stories, honour loved ones, and celebrate beauty. As they embrace techniques and knowledge passed from previous generations, today’s Indigenous artists are using beading to address concerns and concepts related to history, decolonization and resistance.

Ranging from wearable art and portraiture, to installation and video, the works in Radical Stitch connect past and present, as they imagine new worlds. With humour, poignant testimony, and political and social commentary, this exciting exhibition examines the contemporary and transformative aspects of beading through the innovative works of artists and the tactile beauty of the medium. 

Organized and circulated by the MacKenzie Art Gallery.  The MacKenzie receives ongoing support from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture, City of Regina, University of Regina, and Saskatchewan Arts Board. Tour supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. 

Curated by Sherry Farrell Racette, Michelle LaVallee and Cathy Mattes.


Until September 30th, 2024


National Gallery of Canada Special Exhibitions Galleries (Level 2)
380 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1N 9N4

Beading is political, whether it’s simply the personal contribution to an age-old continuum or consciously reworking loaded imagery.

— Nadia Myre, Algonquin artist, 2002



Learn and create in this interactive zone linked to Radical Stitch

Learn More

Colourful glass beads



Barry Ace

Eva Talooki Aliktiluk

Carrie Allison

Marcus Amerman

Judy Anderson

Kristen Auger

Kaylyn Baker

Christi Belcourt

Catherine Blackburn

Katherine Boyer
Marcia Chickeness

Hannah Claus

Dana Claxton

Ruth Cuthand

Marcy Friesen

Teri Greeves

Joyce Growing Thunder

Justine Gustafson

Donald & Carla Hemlock

Lizzie Ittinuar

Bev Koski

Casey Koyczan

Jennine Krauchi

Martha Kyak

Jean Marshall

Audie Murray

Nadia Myre

Margaret Nazon


Shelley Niro

Elias Not Afraid

Jamie Okuma

Sandra Okuma

Taqralik Partridge

Jobena Petonoquot
Memory Rose Poni-Cappo

Alesia Poncho & Farlan Quetawki


Samuel Thomas

Olivia Whetung

Dyani White Hawk

Kenneth Williams Jr.​

Nico Williams

Will Wilson

Despite everything … the shame and the attempted forced assimilation … [beadwork] continued. This beauty, this mapping of the land and our kinship ties, and speaking to the now, speaking to the personal, speaking to Indigenous knowledge systems, and really beautifully securing them for oneself in beadwork. That is radical.

— Cathy Mattes


Available in the Gallery Boutique and online.

Radical Stitch Catalogue


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