On online social networking sites, the concept of ‘trending’ demarcates a noted increase in the popularity of a specific thing or topic among a large group of internet users. In the wider world, a fashion trend indicates an upward shift of interest in a particular style or mode of dress by a number of people. A reoccurring trend that has found its way into runway shows, magazine covers, and suburban malls alike is an Indigenously-inspired look involving apparel such as leather mukluks, beaded headbands, feathered accessories and more controversially, the headdress. Clothing remains an important element within an Aboriginal art history, as well as in contemporary creative culture where questions of appropriation and freedom of expression are beginning to erupt around this issue.
Re:Trending 2014 was a three-day performative embedment on the First Nation University campus by The Ephemerals, an all-female Aboriginal collective of artists and curators from Winnipeg, Manitoba; Jaimie Isaac, Niki Little, and Jenny Western. By inserting themselves into the university community, The Ephemerals interrogated the trend of Aboriginally-influenced clothing and accessories among post-secondary students, encouraging a critical reading of fashion as codified text and highlighting the need for a deeper awareness of its cultural implications.
Drawing from the University's collection, The Ephemerals staged a curatorial intervention with an exhibition in the gallery that will respond to and parallel traditional and contemporary Indigenous identities with material culture and two dimensional works. The exhibition was arranged in a Medicine Wheel placement and organized accordingly, not only as a means of Indigenizing the white cube gallery space but also to honour Traditional knowledge and value systems.
September 5 – October 17, 2014 First Nations University of Canada Art Gallery, Regina, Sk