A Collection of Traditionally Crafted Masks Demonstrating Resiliency through a 21st Century Pandemic

Métis artists Nathalie Bertin and Lisa Shepherd launched the Breathe project in 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused much of the world to shut down. In the throes of Canada’s lockdowns, Bertin and Shepherd noticed a lack of beaded objects being made by traditional artisans. The challenges presented by the pandemic seemingly blocked artists’ and makers’ ability to create.  

In March of that year, the two artists co-created the project, inviting people around the world to create hand-crafted masks in any traditional medium authentic to their culture and artist practice. The vision for the project was that these masks would become artifacts representing a significant moment in human history. Breathe has been exhibited at the Royal Alberta Museum (Edmonton, AB), the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff, AB), and the Art Gallery of Guelph (Guelph, ON). 

Type: Exhibition

Date: Jul 6, 2023 - Oct 1, 2023

Breathe is a project co-created by Nathalie Bertin and Lisa Shepherd


Adele ᒪᐢᑿᓱᐤᐏᐢᑵᐤ Arseneau
Adrienne Assinewai
Amanda Hageman (Burke)
Amanda Roy
Beverly McNabb
Brandi Murray
Brenda Davidson
Candace Longjohn-Constant
Carolina Reis
Celina Loyer
Cheryl Broschell
Cheryl Trudeau
Christina Kappas Dufrene
Crystal Behn-Dettieh
Cynthia Boehm
Dianne Brown-Green
Don Kwan
Eliza Firth
Erik Lee Christopherson
France Poliquin
Graham Giniw Paradis
Howard Lafortune
Isabella Falashoka (Isabella Mori)
Janice Patton
Jean Marc Raymond
Jennifer Curran
Jessica Hiebert
Joeann Argue
Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway
Kathleen (Kats) Klein
Krista Leddy
Kristi Bridgeman
Lisa Carlin
Lisa Shepherd
Louise Vien
Lynette La Fontaine
Marcy Friesen
Margaret Semple
Marlene Kelly
Marsha Lafferty
Michel Dumont
Naomi Smith
Nathalie Bertin
Sherry Lickers
Sheryl Boivin
Taalrumiq (Christina King)
Tania Clute Jacobs
Teresa Burrows
Terre Chartrand
Terri Thomas
Towanna Miller
Vanessa Hyggen


Breathe has been exhibited at the Royal Alberta Museum (Edmonton, AB), the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff, AB), the Art Gallery of Guelph (Guelph, ON) and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (Yellowknife, NT). 

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