Artist Creates Indigenous Bingo Cards

By Ben Hamill - February 13 2021

Artist Creates Indigenous Bingo Cards

Indigenous Anishinaabe artist Nico Williams passed his time in lockdown in a creative and constructive way: designing Bingo and Mots cachés by combining thousands of minute Delica beads in such a way that the special narratives of Indigenous history may be explored and appreciated. The artist and his team of designers have created a stunning series consisting of six scratch Bingo cards for Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain.

The collection forms part of a special and meaningful new exhibition called la machine qui enseignait es airs aux oiseaux, and thanks to Williams and his team’s efforts, is made up of six colourful beaded Bingo scratch tickets – each incorporating words that describe important ideas relating to the history and culture of Indigenous people, with the central theme being the colonial relationship between First Nations and Canada.

Read More...The Many Modern Uses of Bingo Cards

Visible And Significant

Williams said what had initially drawn him to the idea was the importance and significance of knowing that what he had created would be available from ordinary convenience stores – meaning whatever he put out there would be easily accessible.

But the end-result of his work also incorporates the connection between Bingo and being back home in his own Indigenous community. And as for how he came upon the idea of creating Bingo scratch tickets by incorporating messages and images designed by using colourful beads, he says he first became inspired by the idea when he found a scratch ticket in the snow.

It was beautiful because it was glowing, says the artist, which immediately led him to the idea to recreate that particular beauty by combining colourful Delica beads.  The beading would also ultimately represent a bridge between the different communities.

Beads Are Comfort To Him

But beads are not a new medium to the Indigenous artist. In fact, he’s been using them as his number one choice of medium for the past six years.

His very first solo exhibition three years ago featured beaded shaped sculptures that had been inspired by Anishinaabe bandolier bags, which are leather shoulder bags traditionally decorated with colourful beadwork.

He says he first fell in love with beads and beadwork as a medium because of the incredible colours. He says he loves the medium because of the comfort it brings to him when working with beads. And now that he’s designed Bingo scratch cards using the same medium, he gets to enjoy the fruits of his labour every time he visits the store.

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