Connecting Communities – Featured Work


Welcome! We hope you enjoy this months featured work that is coming out of the prairies.



Artist Lauren Crazybull

Lauren Crazybull, “Self-Portrait,” 2019 acrylic on canvas, 36” x 36” (courtesy of the artist)

I was reading through Uppercase magazine the other day when I came across the work of Lauren Crazybull. Crazybull is an Edmonton based Blackfoot-Dene visual artist and is Alberta’s first provincial artist in residence. This 26 year old artist creates portraits of young, contemporary, Indigenous people in a way that was not often done in the past. In a Gallerieswest article, Agnieszka Matejko discusses how portraits of Indigenous subjects have historically been done to either depict faceless, wild attackers or the “noble savage.” Though we rarely see this type of work displayed today, the ideas and stereotypes that past works contained still exist. Crazybull’s activism is in her work as she reverses the colonial gaze by painting powerful, defiant, Indigenous people; portraits that confront the viewer, refusing to let them turn away. After seeing her work, one gets the feeling that like her portrait sitters, Lauren Crazybull isn’t about to disappear, but rather, she is just getting started.




BROTHERS & SISTERS – a film by Kent Monkman

To mark Orange Shirt Day on September 30, 2020 – and create awareness about  residential school experiences, the National Film Board has put together Souvenir – a series of 4 films dealing with Indigenous identity and representation. The cool thing about this series is that these films are made up of reworked material from the NFB archives. Sisters & Brothers, a 3 minute film by Kent Monkman, is an artful, hard-hitting comparison between the decimation of the bison in the 1890’s and the devastation of the residential school system on the Indigenous population.

To watch and learn about the other 3 short films that make up Souvenir.

Kent Monkman is an interdisciplinary Cree Artist with themes of colonization, sexuality and resilience running through his work. He is well known for turning famous or familiar works of art on their heads, recreating images in a way that reverses the viewers gaze and challenges non-Indigenous notions of the Indigenous experience or history. If the power of this piece appeals to you – take some time to check out more of Monkman’s work. 



A film by Janine Windolf

I was drawn to this piece after spending some time camping with my family in Northern Saskatchewan this summer. Found on the National Film Board website, Janine Windolf’s film is a delightful glimpse of Lac LaRonge and the adventure the land holds for her two young boys that have been raised in the city. As this piece progresses, one can see that in a brief 11 minutes, Windolf goes much deeper, revealing a story of strength, wisdom and hope for the future. Click here to watch Stories Are In Our Bones.

Read more about Windolf’s inspiration in the Leader Post article.

-Nicole Thiessen, Director of Programming


Ruth Cuthand Exhibit

THE GALLERY/art placement inc. has put together a fantastic exhibit of Ruth Cuthand’s beaded work. Cuthand is an acclaimed Treaty 6 artist that has been hard at work since the pandemic began. Her intricately textured images of COVID-19 are so attractive in their unusual subject matter that they demand a second, more thoughtful look.  Cuthand’s art conjures up thoughts around the complex, historical trading relationship between Indigenous communities and settlers. While the art of beading is rooted in tradition, Cuthand uses this medium/trade good as a way to invite viewers to think about the impact european settlements, trade relationships and viruses have had on First Nations communities in the past and present, with the Coronavirus.

Ruth Cuthand, Surviving: COVID-19 No. 2, 2020. View Exhibit 

Nicole Thiessen, Director of Programming



Reserve 107 Film

In March 2020 when COVID forced us to close our doors, I spent some time watching films that I have been meaning to check out but never seemed to have the time. Prairie Rivers Reconciliation Committee (PRRC) and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) sent out an email that had a ton of excellent reconciliation resources on it and the Reserve 107 Film was one of them. Initially, the Station Arts Centre was planning to have a screening of this film in our theatre, followed by a panel discussion. Artist Ray Keighley was to be a part of this discussion while also creating a mural based on this story. The screening and the mural project have been put on hold however, we welcome your thoughts on this film through the contact form below. These comments would indirectly shape the mural project if we are able to go ahead with it in the future. This is a great example of a reconciliation journey right here in our own backyard. Enjoy!

Click here to watch Reserve 107

-Nicole Thiessen, Director of Programming