Folio: Potlatch Punk by Whess Harman

In each issue, asks an artist to take over a few pages and present a folio. This section highlights creators working with unexpected media and materials. This one is by Whess Harman. Click on each image for a larger view.

Whess Harman’s ongoing series of work, Potlatch Punk, uses contemporary beadwork to engage with conversations about urban Indigenous identities and visibility — as well as to refute expected representations and colonial measures of authenticity. The jackets blend together DIY approaches and traditional materials. They explore and pay homage to the wealth of dedication, time and love required in the tradition of beadwork. This patient richness runs so contrary to modern fast and easily reproducible fashion. Each jacket is approached as a method of continual adaptation and portraiture. It is as much about the creation of each work as it is about the time spent with it, in a spirit of humble and engaged study, without the pursuit of perfection.

Whess Harman is a mixed-race, trans/non-binary/2SQ artist from the Carrier Wit’at Nation. They currently live and create as an uninvited but grateful guest on the ancestral territories of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.