Jennifer Lee Wiebe, the studio head of drawing at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, was the artist in residence at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery from Oct. 1 to 30. She spent her residency working on her collaborative needlepoint project, #HEGEMONY.
Her project at the Beaverbrook was a collection of needlepoint projects of classic paintings found at thrift stores and flea markets with the top hashtags on Instagram cross-stitched over top.
“I get involved in projects that are interesting to me and not because I think there’s any commercial value,” said Wiebe.
She views residencies as “a way to expand [her] practice and pursue [her] interests outside of the geographic constraints of living in New Brunswick or even North America.”
Wiebe got excited about this project when it became a community effort. She put out a call on her Facebook and Instagram looking for help brainstorming hashtags and help with the stitching.
She explained that her project also incorporated a community element when she would have visitors visit her at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and would tell her stories that her work reminded them of.
“Everybody seems to have some connection to either needlepoint or be like, ‘Memes, right?’ So the needle point and the text are avenues into a conversation,” said Wiebe.
Wiebe said that one woman told her a story about her friend who has a large needlepoint of Salvador Dali’s Saint James the Great in her apartment on the north side of Fredericton.
Wiebe ended up giving both women a tour around the gallery and she got to know a little more about the needlepoint. She learned that it took two years to complete.
“That was pretty fun to have that context that relates directly to the Beaverbrook’s permanent collection, that we would never have known about and it’s just in a retiree’s apartment,” said Wiebe.
Even though Wiebe’s time as artist-in-residence is coming to an end, she intends to continue working on the project. She hopes to complete a few more needlepoint projects but she is also looking forward to turning this project into a digital collection.