Calgary Public Library: Indigenous Placemaking

by ahnationtalk on April 22, 2019356 Views

Call for Indigenous Artist/Artist Team

Submissions due: May 6, 2019

The Calgary Public Library invites Indigenous Artists from the vast and beautiful nations and communities who reside within Treaty 7 territory, including individual artists who are not originally from this traditional territory, to work on and design artwork/installations that will activate Indigenous Placemaking in Calgary Public Library locations. Partnerships and collaborations are encouraged, including between established and emerging artists. This opportunity is designed to include both Traditional Indigenous methods of making and Contemporary art practices.

View criteria and how to apply»

Call for Artist Selection Committee

Deadline to apply: May 5, 2019

The Calgary Public Library is also accepting expressions of interest from the community to form an Artist Selection Committee. Interested candidates (including Elders) from the TsuuT’ina Nation, the Blackfoot Nations, Stoney-Nakoda Nation, Métis Nation Region 3, urban Indigenous communities and arts/culture professionals are invited to apply.

How to apply»

Project Objectives

The Calgary Public Library is excited to provide four permanent Indigenous art installations in our locations; two spaces within Central Library, one space at Forest Lawn Library and one space at Signal Hill Library. The Library has set aside two locations for artwork/installations that will be reflective of traditional art/craft methods and techniques of the nations of Treaty 7, to showcase for and educate patrons of the beautiful techniques and skills that have existed in the territory for generations.

Traditional art works can include but are not limited to; traditionally made regalia, beadwork, leatherwork, woodwork, painting/drawing, sculpture, medicine, maps, toys, jewelry, musical instruments, symbols, language, and storytelling. The other two locations will feature contemporary art inspired by identity, resilience, reconciliation, communication, and education between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people; these artworks can be made in any technique or medium.

The main objectives for the Calgary Public Library Indigenous Placemaking Commissions are:

  • To develop both traditional and contemporary artworks that will promote an educational understanding and cultural communication of Indigenous peoples that live within Treaty 7 territory, including the signatory Nations and non-traditional Treaty 7 Indigenous peoples, using visual and oral storytelling;
  • To create a safe and inclusive place for sharing and gathering of all Nations and communities within the Treaty 7 area, to encourage education and communication about traditional and contemporary culture;
  • Promote collaboration amongst artists of all disciplines, backgrounds, and stages of careers.
  • To develop specific artworks that reflect traditional cultural practices, materials, and techniques taught and overseen by Elders and knowledge keepers.

Indigenous Placemaking Installations 2018

Six Indigenous artists — all from or with a connection to Treaty 7 — have contributed art for three spaces within Central Library.

Starting on the main floor, a colourful and vast wall mural by Keegan Starlight, Kalum Teke Dan, and Roland Rollinmud greets visitors. Inside the civic concourse, metal letters spell out various words in Indigenous languages, forming the shape of a buffalo created by Lionel Peyachew. On Level 4, Glenna Cardinal has created a stunning table and furniture for the Elders’ Guidance Circle, accompanied by a large photo and text-based piece by Brittney Bear Hat.

Learn more about each artist on the Indigenous Placemaking Artists page or read more about the Indigenous Placemaking installations.

The Indigenous Public Art plan for Central Library is based on the belief that art enhances and helps communicate a community’s story. It is a road map for how local artists can enhance Central Library’s public spaces, architecture, and landscapes.

A commitment to equity and inclusiveness are woven into the benefits of Indigenous Placemaking at Central Library. Educational equity between Treaty 7 Nations, Métis Nation Region 3, and the urban community of Calgary should help make connections to the land through bridging the gap. All the Nations involved in these projects and processes are different in history and culture — it is important that we recognize and highlight these differences.

Through the Indigenous Placemaking, Calgary Public Library hopes to make Central Library a place for sharing and gathering and to develop artwork that will promote an understanding of the history of the Treaty 7 lands past and present from the Indigenous perspective.

The Process

In January 2018, members of the Indigenous Place Making Council of Canada and Library staff visited the Stoney Nation, Siksika Nation, Tsuut’ina Nation, Métis Nation of Alberta, and the Aboriginal Friendship Centre. These meetings were advertised with an open invitation to receive input and guidance on the placemaking process. From these meetings the communities advised the Library that artwork should be collaborative pieces that include the vast cultures and communities in Treaty 7 territory.


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