Revolting: Artworks inspired by the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike

The Frost Shield Kerfuffle Collective

September 9 - 30, 2022

“Revolting!” is an exhibition presented by the Frost Shield Kerfuffle Collective. The group is characterized by its diverse personalities and approaches to art. Each member’s work represents an effort to extract social and political meaning from an event that continues to have much relevance for Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada.

The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was the largest strike in Canadian history. Between 15 May and 25 June 1919, more than 30,000 workers left their jobs. Factories, shops, transit and city services shut down. The strike resulted in arrests, injuries and the deaths of two protestors. It did not immediately succeed in empowering workers and improving job conditions. But the strike did help unite the working class in Canada. Some of its participants helped establish what is now the New Democratic Party.

There are aspects of “REVOLTING!” that solicit and, in some cases, demand the participation of the public.

Cullen Bingeman’s piece, For All the Marbles, puts the viewer in the uncomfortable position of deciding to vote (or not to vote) in favour of a cause that demands weighing the consequence of personal sacrifice against the service of the public good.

Regarding how her piece can facilitate collateral activity, Patricia Eschuk wrote:

Unity Braid speaks to the qualities and labours of women, in many walks of life, today. I could never have envisioned the magnitude and beauty of the work at the start, which is a reflection not only of the generous, giving hearts of women, but how larger things can be accomplished when people unite intentionality. It is my prayer that the positive energies and unity of heart, that went into this piece continue to expand out into the world.

To make this braid, textiles were gathered from women within various Manitoba communities and woven together to form a single piece. These textiles included: scraps of material used for sewing projects, scarves, lace, ribbon, embroidered doilies, hankies, table cloths, clothing, cleaning rags, dish towels, linen and canvas used for painting, and braided fibres. I would like to invite any women or women’s groups who feel moved to participate in this community based art project to add to the braid. This may be done in the gallery or in a different venue and then added to the braid in the gallery. To add onto the braid simply continue braiding to the loose end. If it’s easier it can be hand sewn onto the loose end of the braid rather than braided on.