Curated by Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective
Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal
Dan Cardinal McCartney
Laura Grier
Sarah Houle
June 29 – August 4, 2018
Curator’s Talk with Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter and Erin Sutherland
Friday, June 29, 6:30pm

Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective presents Arrivals in collaboration with dc3 Art Projects. This exhibition features the work of four emerging Indigenous artists who are redefining Indigenous contemporary art in Alberta. Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal, Laura Grier, Dan Cardinal McCartney and Sarah Houle each present new work that represents an aspect of their growing practice.

The individual artists engage critically in important issues of  gender, ecology, ceremony and family. Both Cardinal and Houle work in direct relation to their respective communities, and unfold the dense visual language of what nurturing those bonds look like. Cardinal’s installation, Ekosi (2017) reflects on the interconnectedness of community and Indigenous knowledge systems, while Houle’s photography series The Girls (2009-present) demythicize Indigeneity through documenting the everyday life of her family. Cardinal McCartney’s video piece, titled Mothering Myself (Cramps) (2018) is a continuation of his previous film works. The artist uses the medium of experimental, diary-like film to explore concepts of dysphoria, diaspora, and familial relationships through the lens of transmasculinity and Indigeneity. Grier’s ongoing print series of deformed fish explores relationships to ecology and environmentalism, especially within the contexts of Indigenous land rights and dialogues surrounding Water Protectors.

Arrivals brings together these artists to demonstrate the diversity and richness of Indigenous contemporary practice in the province. These four artists’ arrival in the space speaks to the importance on the recognition of emerging voices, and the contemporary issues these artists engage.

An important aspect of Ociciwan’s mandate is to support Indigenous contemporary art in Edmonton, and Alberta more broadly. Ociciwan believes each of these artists’ explorations add to the strong and diverse Alberta arts scene with a focus on issues surrounding Indigenous methodology. The fostering of new voices of artists working in the province through exhibition and mentorship provides opportunities to expose new audiences to important emerging artists and to support artists in building their careers. Ociciwan understands the importance of supporting artists at the beginning of their careers in order to help build the already strong Alberta arts scene. In the spirit of resilience, fostering greater relations and welcoming new voices, Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective is excited to present the work of these four notable artists with the support of dc3 Art Projects.

Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal


Ekosi, 2017
(East) Osâm apisîs – “too little, less than enough”
(South) Nahiyikohk – “just enough, just right”
(West) Tepipayiw – “there is enough, it is enough”
(North) Otisâpatam – “S/he lives long enough to see it”
Personal hygiene and foodstuffs packaging, community resource pamphlets and newspapers, artist’s paraphernalia, recycled tea bags, artificial sinew

Various natural fibres and found objects have become layered together, suspended from the walls and ceilings in a weblike structure. The circular collages that are made up of recycled teabags and images from the artist’s personal collection, which leave out the faces and focus only on the event/action/place. Paired next to these photographs in a similar cut-out fashion, are portions of  packaging from foodstuffs and personal hygiene products, as well as local community resource pamphlets amongst other paraphernalia. Working within the Indigenous community, mostly with women and children, Tamara is concerned with issues of homeless, poverty, and well-being within the city. Considering local service agencies, Tamara compares the altruistic methodology as a driving force of these agencies with Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” in psychology. Originally borrowed from the Blackfoot way of being, Maslow’s theory gained initial recognition in the late 1940’s. The images and cut-outs relating to “essential needs” within Ekosi, are items and interactions regularly taken for granted in society where money is disposable and so are the people within it. As each circle represents a cardinal direction, a developmental stage of life, seven levels of intellect, and all together the setting of the Life Cycle (Sacred Circle), Ekosi challenges the viewer to ask themselves, “What is enough?”.


Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal is a multimedia artist, community activist, oskâpêwis, and lifelong learner. Born and raised in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, she currently lives in Treaty 7 territory within Mohkínstsis (Calgary). Tamara traces her ancestral roots back to both Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 6 and the once German occupied lands of Ukraine. Having graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Sculpture, from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2015, Tamara has since been a recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts 2017 Young Artists Award, as well as the National BMO Art! Competition Award for her graduating work Back into the Earth: Creation and the Interpretation of Meaning, which speaks to her core interests in community, family history, and our human connection with Mother Earth. Tamara attended the 2016 Indigenous Visual + Digital Arts Residency in Banff, Alberta where she created Akohp: A Blanket, most recently featured in the 2017 Alberta Biennial at the Art Gallery of Alberta. Tamara currently works within the urban Indigenous community as a Child Support Worker through Awo Taan Healing Lodge offering creative programming to families seeking shelter from domestic violence. Her artwork continues to be a reflection of the teachings she receives along her journey, inviting all people to become a part of the process.

Dan Cardinal McCartney


Mothering Myself (Cramps), 2018
Film, 3:20

Dan Cardinal McCartney graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2016. His maternal family is from Fort Chipewyan, Alberta and was raised in Fort McMurray. His maternal blood lines are a proud mix of Cree, Chipewyan, and Métis. As a two spirit, transmasculine person, Dan sifts through questions of blood memory and inter- generational trauma. Gender dysphoria, combined with cultural diaspora, leaves gashes to either remain open or to be scabbed over in time.

Laura Grier


sahba ɂ ǫ̀had, 2018
5 Colour Lithograph, 22 x 30 in, Edition 3/3
ɂ échų́ę, 2018
7 Colour Screenprint, 22 x 30 in, Edition 3/3
ɂ ǫ̀hda
Monoprint, 2018, 22 x 30 in, Edition 1/1

This series of lithograph, Silkscreen, and Monoprint fish prints, represents a current way of life and the effects on living creatures by revealing discoveries of fish found within Alberta’s Lakes and Rivers. Like “Canaries in a coal mine”, the deteriorating health of fish and wildlife speaks volumes about the urgency to save our waters.


Amiskwaskahegan, 2018
Woodcut Relief, 32 x 48 in, Artist Proof (Edition 1/1)
Banff, 2018
Woodcut Relief, 32 x 48 in, Artist Proof (Edition 1/1)

These hand-carved relief woodcut prints are an exploration of personal subjective views of Alberta. Combining humor and apprehension, the prints show a narrative rich with critique on current tourism and environmental dynamics. As an Indigenous artist, routed in activism, it is troubling see the continuous exploitation of the environment, and the lack of respect for this Indigenous land.

Laura Grier is a Deline First Nation Printmaker, born in Yellowknife, who currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta. In 2015, Grier graduated with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax. Having grown up away from traditional lands, Laura tries to find ways to revitalize Indigenous culture and knowledge by using traditional print mediums. Laura’s art is inspired by the vitality of Indigenous art practices and is grounded in Indigenous worldviews and lived experiences.

Sarah Houle


The Girls, 2018
Inkjet Prints on Photo Rag, Wood

Artist Statement – Helen Gilbert, professor at the University of London, believes that through ‘re-identification’ Indigenous people can decolonize themselves through artistic expression, particularly by employing new technologies that have recently emerged into the art world. In the article Native art now: indigenous and digital Gilbert points out that colonialism has given Aboriginal artists the task of challenging stereotypes that have been ingrained in popular culture through the arts since colonization. “As Aboriginal people decolonize, so too does the non-Aboriginal community. Both groups need to become free of the dominant forces that have cast Aboriginal culture as inferior. By decolonizing the exhibition space and art discourses, an Aboriginal worldview will flourish,” (pg. 17).


Sarah Houle is a multidisciplinary, Métis artist based in Calgary, AB and is from the Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement in Northern Alberta. Her work is autobiographical with an interest in technology, fantasy, and craft. Cultural identity in the age of digital technology is important in her work, as elements of physical and digital space come together to conjure nostalgic imagery. Modern day fantastical legends express the artists social commentary on identity from the perspective of Métis culture and heritage.