Photo Courtesy of OSAC: Joi T. Arcand, Here on Future Earth – Duck Lake, photographic print, 2009, 29.2 x 44.5 cm, Saskatchewan Arts Board, Permanent Collection – 2017-105
The exhibition, I Do Not Have My Words, at the Humboldt & District Museum features three Indigenous, Saskatchewan-born artists – Joi Arcand, Catherine Blackburn and Audrey Dreaver.
The artists explore language loss and consider how language is connected to cultural identity through a variety of artistic mediums, including printmaking, photography, sculpture, and beading.
Joi T. Arcand is a photo-based artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and her grandmother was the last person to fluently speak Cree. In developing her relationship with her ancestral language, her artwork reflects on the interruption of intergenerational language-learning as a result of the residential school system and other colonial attempts to remove Indigenous culture. Arcand’s language revitalization becomes clear through rendering Cree syllabics as hyper-visible in everyday locations.
Based in Leask, SK, Catherine Blackburn‘s artistic practice is informed by her Dene and European ancestry, including her grandmother who created traditional garments and was a bead work artist. Many of her pieces feature her ancestral Dene language to develop a dialogue around Indigenous cultures and create a sense of discomfort while simultaneously celebrating cultural and language. In doing so, she is keeping her cultural alive and thriving.
Audrey Dreaver is a painter, printmaker, and photographer from Nehiyiwak (Plains Cree) and her family is from Mistawasis and Ahtahkakoop Cree Nations. Her artworks document her research into her family’s history of Cree language loss and the emotional and psychological impact on her identity as a Cree women not affluent in her ancestral language. Dreaver has made strides in visually conveying these complex concepts and communicating them to people unfamiliar with the experience by posing the question – Is language who you are?
This exhibit is part of the Organization of Saskatchewan Art Councils’ (OSAC) Arts on the Move program. To learn more about this program click HERE.