Making Treaty 7: Finding Common Ground

July 31 – September 10, 2017

Jill Allan, Chris Cran, Amanda Fox, Micheline Maylor, and Keegan Starlight

September 11 – October 22, 2017

Derek Beaulieu, Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal, Micheline Maylor, Andrew Tarrant, and George Webber

This Project Space exhibition is a rotating presentation of works produced in response to the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society’s Common Ground Dinner Series.

Based on the Making Treaty 7 methodology, this dinner series explored the theme of The Land through eight sub-themes: Energy, Agriculture, Education, Law, Culture, Borders, Safety and Security, and Medicine.

Seventy-five Indigenous and non-Indigenous influencers from the area attended three dinners, each a month apart, and were led through an interactive, experiential process where they participated in ceremony, witnessed vignettes, completed the blanket exercise, listened, shared, and wrote a haiku. Each table at the dinner was graced with an Elder and a local artist. Participants created a Statement of Hope in response to each theme and the invited artists created works to represent these statements. The artworks created range in media from jewellery to glass, ceramics to photography, poetry to painting, drawing to installation art. Over the next twelve weeks, each of the works created in response to the Dinner Series will be displayed in the Project Space in two groupings.

Common Ground Statements of Hope

Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Energy is to reconnect to an ancient story and rediscover a daily practice of gratitude and connection with the land. In doing this restore sustainable patterns and behaviours that reduce consumption and replenish the land.

Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Medicine is to value the power of community and ceremony for healing by sharing and working together to create a unified future in medicine.

Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Safety and Security is committing to the Seven Grandfather teachings of respect, honesty, truth, love, courage, wisdom, and humility.

Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Agriculture is establishing a personal symbiotic relationship by returning to practice traditional and historical methods of obtaining our food locally via ethical agriculture/hunting/fishing/gathering. We aspire to improve a sustainable, healthy, simple way of life through community gardens, cooking clubs, community food banks, and urban spin farmers.

Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Law is that the law respects the land.
The word to the group encompassed humility, greater awareness of the importance of the land, the power of the land over humans, and optimism.

Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Borders is that there is an elimination of borders (and get back to humanity and see that we are all human beings).
What connects us, our common humanity, our love for each other, for the land, and for the common future, permits us to eliminate the borders, the fences, the differences that only serve to divide us from each other and from Mother Earth.

Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Education is when education is balanced, with play, creativity and freedom, we are wisely aware and life is good.

Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Culture is to choose to find common ground, always.

 

Supported by Calgary Arts Development; works on loan from Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society.

MT7 Logo          Calgary Arts Development

 

  • Jill Allan

    Energy

    Artist’s Statement

    On the night of the first dinner at River Cafe, Hal Eagletail shared the teaching of the buffalo; how the buffalo’s body was built to face and weather the storms of the open prairie, not to take shelter from them. I began to think of the buffalo as a metaphor for facing difficult issues and conflict, and for the resurgence of traditional wisdom specific to this place. The buffalo is an important part of the prairie ecosystem, significant to the survival of the other animals, people, and plants living around it. The buffalo models our group goals of reconnecting to the land and ancient traditions, restoring sustainable patterns, sharing a hopeful future, curbing consumption and replenishing the land, and facing difficult situations together.

    In my artwork Thundering Herd, the glass shapes mimic the buffalo herd in silhouette as though they were re-emerging from the glass platform, coming back from the land. The glass shapes also look like clouds in the big prairie sky to give a sense of place and distance, and to reference the idea of storms.

    As a landscape, Thundering Herd references the horizon alluding to the past and future. There is word play in the title which when spoken could mean hearing thunder as well as a thundering herd of animals.

     

    Statement of Hope

    Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Energy is to reconnect to an ancient story and rediscover a daily practice of gratitude and connection with the land. In doing this restore sustainable patterns and behaviours that reduce consumption and replenish the land.

     

    Biography

    Originally from Vancouver Island, Jill Allan is currently teaching at Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary. She graduated with an MFA from Bowling Green State University, Ohio in 2013. Her work is quiet, and based in the craft tradition of vessel making. Allan is interested in design, installation, and working with light.

  • Derek Beaulieu

    Safety and Security

    Artist’s Statement

    For the creation of Seven Approximate Circles, the seven participants in the “Safety & Security” discussion group of the Common Ground Dinner Series were asked to bring a small pebble from “home” (however they defined the word). Beaulieu then traced each pebble once with ink diluted in the water of Calgary’s Bow River (and applied with a horse hair brush) and six additional times with graphite – seven tracings per pebble. Echoing the treaty number of the Calgary region (Treaty 7), the seven sacred teachings, and the changing vision of home; Seven Approximate Circles leaves their gestures open, searching for closure; lines bent in healing discussion.

     

    Statement of Hope

    Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Safety and Security is committing to the Seven Grandfather teachings of respect, honesty, truth, love, courage, wisdom, and humility.

     

    Biography

    Derek Beaulieu is the author of eight collections of poetry, six collections of conceptual fiction, and two collections of essays. He is the publisher of the acclaimed no press and is the visual poetry editor at UBUWeb. Beaulieu has exhibited his work across Canada, the United States, and Europe and is an award-winning college instructor. Derek Beaulieu was the 2014–2016 Poet Laureate of Calgary.

  • Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal

    Borders

    Artist’s Statement

    “As long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the waters flow…”

    Borders and limitations are not only physical, but can be mental as well. When we consider each other’s truths and (his)stories with an open mind, only then can we better understand and love one another fully.

    Remembering the Land as our Mother, it is not we who have ownership over her, but she over us as her children. We often forget that it is our responsibility to give back as much as we take.

    Through a non-invasive, silent, process-based performance, the creation of an impermanent installation will be formed in representation of our unique human responsibility to future generations of plants, animals, people, and the Land.

     

    Statement of Hope

    Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Borders is that there is an elimination of borders (and get back to humanity and see that we are all human beings).

    What connects us, our common humanity, our love for each other, for the land, and for the common future, permits us to eliminate the borders, the fences, the differences that only serve to divide us from each other and from Mother Earth.

     

    Biography

    Tamara Cardinal is a Cree multi-media artist, community activist, and lifelong learner with mixed German descent. Born and raised in Treaty 6 Territory within Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, she currently lives in Moh-kíns-tsis, Treaty 7 Territory in Alberta. Tamara is a graduate of the Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary and is the recipient of the 2017 Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artists Award. She also received the national BMO 1st Art! Competition Award in 2015. Cardinal’s work, Akohp: A Blanket, is currently on exhibition in the Alberta Biennial at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton. She was also a recent participant in the Indigenous Visual & Digital Arts Residency at The Banff Centre. Cardinal currently works within the urban Indigenous community as a Child Support worker, offering creative programming to families seeking shelter from domestic violence.

  • Chris Cran

    Education

    Artist’s Statement

    Reflection takes place now.
    Play that has already begun, begins.
    It is always Now.

     

    Statement of Hope

    Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Education is when education is balanced, with play, creativity and freedom, we are wisely aware and life is good.

     

    Biography

    Chris Cran graduated in 1979 from the Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary. In addition to his professional activities as a painter and teacher (ACAD), Cran has been actively involved with Calgary’s internationally recognized One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre. His work may be found in many public, corporate, and private collections both nationally and internationally including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; Glenbow Museum, Calgary; Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary; The University of Lethbridge Collection, and the Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina. Cran is represented by Trépanier Baer Gallery in Calgary, Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto, and Wilding Cran Gallery in Los Angeles.

  • Amanda Fox

    Medicine

    Artist’s Statement

    This piece symbolizes the importance of Indigenous Medicine. I have encapsulated the four sacred medicines important to our culture – Tobacco, Sage, Cedar, and Sweetgrass – on top of rawhide. I used a metal feather to symbolize how we will always be here. Our unique group came up with these statements to share in hopes that it will reach everyone. We are all treaty.

    “There is healing when honouring Indigenous traditional ceremony and power in community.

    Sharing our knowledge and working together can create a healthy, unified future in medicine.”

     

    Statement of Hope

    Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Medicine is to value the power of community and ceremony for healing by sharing and working together to create a unified future in medicine.

     

    Biography

    Amanda Starlight has been professionally making jewelry and art for six years and started art making ten years ago. In 2007 she was accepted into Alberta Collage of Art + Design, Calgary, where she completed 3rd year studies majoring in the jewellry and metals program. She plans to continue her fourth year when her youngest child is older. Starlight’s main goal is to keep learning different techniques and expanding her skill set so that one day she can teach and encourage the community in the arts. Starlight is currently a freelance jeweler/artist working from home on the Tsuu T’ina Nation with her partner and husband, Keegan Starlight, who is also an artist specializing in portrait paintings. Together, they will be selling their art at the Calgary Stampede Arts and Western Showcase 2017, located in the BMO center.

  • Micheline Maylor

    Artist Statement

    The poem for me, ultimately, is about forward thinking. One where we can look toward the next 150 years with a hope for redress. I am both Kanatian and Canadian. We live in one of the best countries in the world, but we need to wake up, look at the damage of colonialism, acknowledge it, and move away from it to a feasible cohabitation that is fair and just. We need move away from the blame game; even toddlers know that it is wrong to point fingers and yell. The main voice in this poem is sleepwalking. The poem asks that we wake up, all of us, and appreciate the beauty in each other, so that appreciation can perpetuate.

     

    Biography

    Dr. Micheline Maylor is Poet Laureate of Calgary, 2016-2018. Maylor attained a Ph.D. at Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, in English Language and Literature with a specialisation in Creative Writing and 20th Century Canadian Literature. She teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University in Calgary where she won the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award. Her collection Little Wildheart is with U of A Press (2017) and was short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch award for experimental poetry. She was the Calgary Public Library Author-in-Residence in the fall of 2016. She serves as poetry editor at Frontenac House Press. She is the co-founder of Freefall Literary Society and remains a consulting editor.

  • Keegan Starlight

    Agriculture

    Artist’s Statement

    Giving Back to the Land

    My concept for this piece was to show the importance between culture and agriculture; we teach our children to respect the environment and that they are the ones to give life back to the land. So in the painting, each step the dancer takes adds life to the grass, the sky, and in turn back into the culture that he represents.

     

    Statement of Hope

    Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Agriculture is establishing a personal symbiotic relationship by returning to practice traditional and historical methods of obtaining our food locally via ethical agriculture/hunting/fishing/gathering. We aspire to improve a sustainable, healthy, simple way of life through community gardens, cooking clubs, community food banks, and urban spin farmers.

     

    Biography

    Keegan Starlight is a professional artist from the Tsuut’ina Nation. Starlight has been practicing for approximately 17 years and owns a freelance art company with his wife, Amanda Starlight. The Starlights’ two children, Tiernan (age 6), and Brielle (age 1), are their biggest inspiration and the reason behind their success. The Starlights’ practices are multidisciplinary, working in painting, drawing (charcoal, pencil, pen and ink), jewelry (beaded, assembling, silversmithing, goldsmithing), as well as in fashion and design. The Starlights are currently working on illustrated children’s books as well.

  • Andrew Tarrant

    Culture

    Artist’s Statement

    My work is historically based in form and design, from mostly European cultures of the past. I spent the first few years of my life growing up in Southampton, England. My family moved us to Calgary in the early 70s. The medieval walls of Southampton were replaced by the open prairies, English castles were replaced by the Rocky Mountains on the horizon, and Stonehenge replaced by The Big Rock in Okotoks.

    I missed the landscape and history of the place I was born, and that love of past times and my home culture eventually made its way into my work. Culture and tradition are very important to me, in my work, and my life.

    I speak of culture and tradition through my work. I employ visual motifs and narratives that aim to evoke a shared response in the collective memory of experiences as well as an important tactile response from my audience.

    All this ties into my work for Making Treaty 7, and our group’s Statement of Hope: “To find common ground, always.” I have made this work from Treaty 7 ground: a water service, ewer with eight cups. The ewer represents the land, and the cups, the people. All are made from the same clay, but created in various styles and decorated in different ways; some cups relate physically to the ewer, some not. There are eight cups to represent the cardinal and ordinal points of the compass. No matter where we are from, “We Are All the Same Clay.”

     

    Statement of Hope

    Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Culture is to choose to find common ground, always.

     

    Biography

    Ceramic artist Andrew Tarrant is known as an accomplished practitioner of sprigged decoration. His work is a contemporary view of classical pottery forms influenced by historical and mythological themes and a modern humor. Influenced by various cultures and civilizations throughout history, his work presents as both unique and opulent – from small, personal, utilitarian objects to larger, one-of-a-kind vessels. Born in the United Kingdom, he moved to Canada at a young age. His early memories of England promoted the evolution of his artistic career. Since graduating from the Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary, in 1990 he has created work for clients worldwide, is represented in numerous collections, and has shown in many exhibitions, including the 53rd International Competition of Contemporary Ceramics, Faenza.

  • George Webber

    Law

    Artist’s Statement

    “Four billion years ago Earth was a lifeless place. Nothing struggled, thought, or wanted. Slowly, that changed. Seawater leached chemicals from rocks; near thermal vents, those chemicals jostled and combined. Some hit upon the trick of making copies of themselves. A new level of order had been achieved on Earth. Life had begun. The tree of life grew, its branches stretching toward complexity. Organisms developed systems, subsystems, and sub-subsystems, layered in ever-deepening regression. They used these systems to anticipate their future and to change it.” (Joshua Rothman)

    I have been photographing the people, landscape and built environment of Alberta for nearly 40 years.

    Until recently I had little knowledge of scope and importance of Treaty 7. I was astonished to find out that the land on which I have lived most of my life had been ceded to the Crown with the signing of the Treat in 1877.

    When I was invited to participate in Treaty 7 – the Land, I travelled to Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park which is near the place that the Treaty was signed.

    Andy Warhol once said, “Land is the best art” and that is surely true of this extraordinary place. The roiling, teeming and irrepressible natural world pays little mind to boundaries or laws. I experienced a great visceral joy moving through this space. Could I somehow fit the energy and graphic complexity of this landscape into a photograph?

    To our group’s statement “Our hope is the law respects the land” the land seems to reassure us of its transcendence.

    This photograph has been created as a carbon pigment print. This relatively recent innovation produces prints of extraordinary permanence. Some experts estimate that this print could have a life span in excess of 500 years.

     

    Statement of Hope

    Together, our shared hope for the future of the Land and Law is that the law respects the land.

    The word to the group encompassed humility, greater awareness of the importance of the land, the power of the land over humans, and optimism.

     

    Biography

    George Webber has been photographing the people, landscape, and urban environment of the Canadian west for over thirty-five years.

    He was inducted into The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1999.  In 2005 George received the Alberta Centennial Medal “in recognition of outstanding service to the people and province of Alberta.” In 2010 he was the recipient of the National Magazine Gold Award for Photojournalism.

    His books include Requiem, A World Within, People of The Blood, Last Call, In This Place and Prairie Gothic. Webber’s work can be found in museums and archives in Canada, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Australia.