Braided Roots / Trenzando raíces as an exhibition was shaped by the experiences, encounters, and exchanges Betsabeé Romero experienced during her initial research visit to Toronto and New Credit in May 2017 as well as further research into Canada and its mining practices in the Americas. The site-specific work was developed through workshops with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and experimentation with materials and techniques in the sculpture studio at the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) at York University through the L.L. Odette Sculptor-in-Residency Program.
This publication, designed by Sébastien Aubin, documents the residency and exhibition through two divergent methods: from one direction, it’s a purely image-based scrapbook that evokes the coming together of the project. Flip the book over, and it becomes more of an exhibition catalogue with essays by the two curators, Emelie Chhangur (formerly of the AGYU) and Cathie Jamieson (a member of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and long-time collaborator with the gallery) and by Romero herself. The texts in the book come in three languages, Ojibwemowin (translations from English by Shirley Ida Williams), Spanish (translations from English by Pilar Villela Mascaró), and English (translations from Spanish by Richard Moszka).
Mexican artist Betsabeé Romero is internationally known for her large-scale public works and unconventional approaches to trace-making. Her work incorporates materials and techniques from vernacular tradition and popular arts as modes of cultural resistance and as forms of festive celebration. Romero engages themes ranging from the megalopolis of Mexico City to pollution, border culture, migration, and movement in contemporary life by recycling mass-produced objects — such as cars and tires — that act as cultural vehicles, capitalizing on their material and metaphoric import.