OciciwanThe Girls Web


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 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 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 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 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.