10 Mar 2023 - 28 Apr 2023
Opening Reception: March 10, 2023 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Ii’pait’aapiiyisinn: Art in the Contemporary and Ancient Blackfoot Way
Brittney Namaakii Bear Hat, Sikapinakii Low Horn, Bryce Many Fingers-Singer (Mano’taanikaapi), with Star Crop Eared Wolf in the Prairie Crocus Space.
Curated by Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii)
Ii’pait’aapiiyisinn (Way of Life) is a new exhibition curated by Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii) from the Blackfeet Nation. This exhibition highlights the Blackfoot way of life in a contemporary setting with multiple Blackfoot worldviews represented by visual artists from each nation within the Blackfoot Confederacy. Works by Sikapinakii Low Horn, Bryce Many Fingers-Singer (Mano’taanikaapi), Brittney Namaakii Bear Hat, and Star Crop Eared Wolf will be on display in Stride Gallery. The curator Itsooaakii and the featured artists emphasize a greater understanding of Blackfoot artistry, people, worldviews and knowledge. Through this curatorial project, Itsooaakii selected Blackfoot artwork that would re-situate agency to place the power of representation into their own hands and tell their own stories. Ii’pait’aapiiyisinn also works to encourage Blackfoot individuals to embrace their ancestral right to occupy these art spaces located within their traditional territory. This exhibition has been curated to celebrate the ineffably rich, integral and vibrant role Blackfoot artists have and continue to occupy in the cultural landscape and ecology of our ancestral territories on Treaty 7 land.
Bryce Many Fingers / Singer (Mano’taanikaapi) is an artist and member from the Blood Tribe (Kainai) in Southern Alberta. Bryce’s mixed media art aims to build an understanding of Niitsitapi culture and history, as well as a relationship to the land. His graphic style is influenced by Blood Artist Gerald Tail Feathers “Iitsiki’tsaawaawahka (Walks up high)”, and he also takes inspiration from literary works such as, My People, The Bloods by Mike Mountain Horse, and The Ways of My Grandmothers by Beverly Hungry Wolf. Bryce has had work commissioned for both the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the Galt Museum, and the Red Crow Community College.
Blackfoot artist, Sikapinakii Low Horn (BFA ’19, Drawing), is a member of the Siksika First Nation which is a part of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Southern Alberta. They graduated with their Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2019 and are currently attending the University of Calgary as a Master of Fine Arts graduate student. Low Horn is researching about Blackfoot Cowboys in Alberta but their overall practice as a mixed media is to tell the stories of their people. Educating others about the Blackfoot people in hopes of creating a comfortable space for all.
Brittney Namaakii Bear Hat (BFA ’11, Painting) is a Mohkinstsis/Calgary-based artist, whose Blackfoot and Cree/Dane-zaa ancestors have lived on the lands that are now part of Treaty 7 and 8, for many millennia. Her work explores this cultural lineage through installation, photography, text and collage. Bear Hat graduated from the Alberta University of the Arts in 2011, where she majored in painting. Her work explores identity, and adds to the rich stories of her home territories. Within her work, Bear Hat is exploring that which ties her to these unique landscapes.
Bear Hat’s most recent work, These Gifts, was on display in Contemporary Calgary’s exhibition, Planetary, in January of this year. Other recent exhibitions include Visions of the Hunt (2018), The Esplanade, Medicine Hat; níchiwamiskwém | nimidet | ma soeur | my sister, Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA), Art Mûr, Montréal; I Believe in Living (2018), Untitled Arts Society, Calgary, and Lineage (2018), Latitude 53, Edmonton. Bear Hat has also been awarded the Joane Cardinal Schubert Memorial Scholarship in 2011and the Sonia de Grandmaison Scholarship in 2013.
Star Crop Eared Wolf is a multidisciplinary artist and a member of the Kainai Nation which is a part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Crop Eared Wolf graduated from The University of Lethbridge with her degree in Native Art-Museum Studies. She uses various mediums to produce her artwork such as: painting, sculpture, photography, video and beading. The artwork that Crop Eared Wolf creates is centered around Land, culture, social and political issues that impact Indigenous peoples. Crop Eared Wolf has been the featured artist in The Shop at SAAG gift shop and her more recent work has been in The Art Gallery of Alberta’s exhibition Aakii isskska’takssin (Women – thought), T7NFT Exhibition, and the Treaty 7 Trivia art show.
Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii) [Blackfeet Tribe of Montana] is an art educator and visual artist that works to center her own personal narrative regarding the processes of navigating mental health, cultural identity, and reclamation of space as a Blackfeet woman. She creates acclaimed vibrant self-portraits, billboards, and projects of reclamation.