Rising to the Occasion is a sculpture and performance artifact that consists of the gown that Belmore made, and wore during the Twelve Angry Crinolines performance event. Rising to the Occasion is an ‘angry crinoline’ dress modeled on the Victorian tea gown, with a bodice incorporating two “breastplate” saucers made of English bone china and a massive satin and velvet skirt festooned with royal wedding memorabilia, and bustled with a big facsimile beaver lodge made of sticks and debris and kitchen utensils.
Rebecca Belmore draws attention to the effects of colonization on First Nations women in Rising to the Occasion with a dress that is an artifact from Twelve Angry Crinolines, and a silent parade and tea party (conceived by Lynne Sharman) staged in Thunder Bay in 1987. The parade was a response to Prince Andrew and Lady Sarah Ferguson’s visit to Canada, and the fact that, during this visit, they toured a pioneer fort and rode in a birch-bark canoe. Belmore deftly uses mixed media to combine clichés from British and First Nations culture.
Daina Augaitis and Kathleen Ritter, eds., Rebecca Belmore: Rising to the Occasion, Vancouver Art Gallery, 2008
Photo credit: Michael Beynon, Trevor Mills / Vancouver Art Gallery