Gathering for the Witness Blanket, Marek Tyler Visits Woodland

Posted 14/03/05 in NEWS

Marek Tyler journeyed from British Colombia on a gathering mission for an exciting new arts project funded in part by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Commemoration Project.  The Witness Blanket is an ambitious, large-scale arts installation which will take many months to complete.  Tyler is in the process of travelling to every residential school site in Canada and gathering applications pieces for the 'blanket'.  An artist will use these pieces to create a 30x8 ft quilt using cedar panels and steel cables as the mounting "blanket'.  Application pieces include architectual materials such as bricks, stone and wood, as well as personal objects associated with the 200+ residential schools once existing in Canada.

While visiting the Woodland Cultural Centre (site of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School), Marek Tyler was provided with the Mohawk Institute contribution to the Witness Blanket - a bakelite bowl once a part of the students' dinnerware at the Institute.  This small, pale yellow bowl is a fitting symbol for the 'Mush Hole' with its monotinous serving of mush, oppressive environment, and nutritional deprivation.  Tyler accepted the bowl and honouring the First Nations' custom of exchange gave the Cultural Centre (to hold on behalf of the Survivors and the Centre's Support Community members) a 'token of appreciation'.  This token, with many First Nations' words for "Thank You" engraved upon it, is in itself a commemorative piece for the Witness Blanket; and is the Centre's newest accession.

The Witness Blanket stems from the vision of Kwakwaka'wakw Master Carver Carey.  More information on the Witness Blanket and the gathering process, creation process, and touring schedule, can be found at the website