AL­BERTA BI­EN­NIAL

ART GALLERY OF AL­BERTA, ED­MON­TON, AND WAL­TER PHILLIPS GALLERY, BANFF To Septem­ber 10

Canadian Art - - Preview -

In her in­stal­la­tion for the Al­berta Bi­en­nial, Calgary-based artist and so­cial worker Ta­mara Lee-anne Car­di­nal in­vokes her fam­ily his­tory.

TA­MARA LEE-ANNE CAR­DI­NAL: The first it­er­a­tion of this piece con­sisted of print­outs of ar­ti­cles from the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion. I was con­sult­ing my fam­ily to fig­ure out what it means for us, how lis­ten­ing to sto­ries from our El­ders about res­i­den­tial schools af­fects our future gen­er­a­tions. Only a por­tion of the truth has been heard.

The piece has changed since I first con­ceived it: there are no words now, and it has be­come a seven-pointed star that is eight-feet-wide in cir­cum­fer­ence.

Sa­cred medicines—some gifts and oth­ers har­vested by my fam­ily—that I per­son­ally use, like to­bacco, sweet­grass, sage, wîhkês and red cedar, went into hand-mak­ing the pa­per. All of the un­der­stand­ing and knowl­edge that I have gained from my El­ders in­formed it. The teach­ings that I have re­ceived around the seven-pointed star di­rectly re­late to my tra­di­tional name, Mahihkan Ac­ahkos Iskwew, and the teach­ings from the El­ders I have been work­ing with also use the seven-pointed star. It sig­ni­fies ev­ery­thing that is in be­tween — above, be­low, within.

The star hangs from above, with a light shin­ing through the translu­cent pa­per to il­lu­mi­nate it. When you stand un­derneath it, you will be ac­ti­vat­ing the star, com­plet­ing it, and when you look up, you will be able to see its de­tails, like my own hair. It will feel like you are un­derneath a blan­ket, be­cause it will com­pletely en­gulf you.

Ta­mara Lee-anne Car­di­nal Akohp: A Blan­ket (de­tail) 2016

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