Edmonton's Indigenous Art Park is an ongoing collaboration between the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton. The park is anticipated to formally open to the public in 2018. The park is located within Queen Elizabeth Park in the North Saskatchewan River Valley; a site imbued with centuries of history and tradition as a meeting place.
On April 12, 2016, the six selected artists, and their artistic concepts for the Indigenous Art Park, were announced at Edmonton City Hall.
They are: Iskotew - Amy Malbeuf (Rich Lake, Alberta), untitled - Tiffany Shaw-Collinge (Edmonton, Alberta), Mikikwan - Duane Linklater (Moose Cree First Nation, Ontario), Turtle - Jerry Whitehead (James Smith First Nation, Saskatchewan), Reign - Mary Anne Barkhouse (Nimpkish Band, Kwakiutl First Nation), and Preparing to Cross the Sacred River - Marianne Nicolson (Dzawada'enuxw Nation).
The Indigenous Art Park is curated by Candice Hopkins (Carcross Tagish First Nation, Gaanax.âdi clan) - noted scholar and artist who has held curatorial positions at IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA), National Gallery of Canada, Walter Philips Gallery, and the Western Front.
About the Site
Queen Elizabeth Park is located in the North Saskatchewan River Valley, across the river from the Rossdale community between Walterdale Bridge and Saskatchewan Drive on Edmonton's south side. Located between Edmonton's downtown and Old Strathcona, the park bridges two key tourist and citizen destinations and overlooks landmarks such as Alberta's Legislature Building and High Level Bridge. The area has a rich history. The land a few miles south of the river was historically the reserve of Chief Papaschase's Band. The immediate area of the park was part of River Lot #11 homesteaded by early Métis settler Joseph MacDonald.
The City of Edmonton is home to Canada's second-largest urban Indigenous community. For centuries this area has been a place of gathering, relationship building, harmony, balance, and commerce for many peoples. It was in this place that early relationships led to the creation of Treaty No. 6, the Province of Alberta, and the City of Edmonton.
About the Indigenous Art Park
The rich history of the Queen Elizabeth Park makes it an appropriate venue to house Edmonton's first curated Indigenous public art park.
In September 2013, the Edmonton Arts Council and City of Edmonton co-presented a weekend "visioning workshop" at Sun & Moon Aboriginal Arts Society. The primary intent of the visioning workshop was to inform Indigenous artists, Edmonton's Indigenous communities, and the general public about the park concept, and engage them in its creation. Attendees included 16 Indigenous artists from Edmonton and across Canada, as well as representation from Edmonton's Indigenous communities.
Funding for the Indigenous Art Park was approved by City Council in December 2014, and a Steering Committee has been implemented. The Steering Committee provides leadership and strategic direction for the art park and advises on all consultation, engagement, and administrative processes. Input from this body will also play a major role in choosing a name for the park and adhering to traditional naming protocols. The Steering Committee includes members from the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Arts Council, Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, Metis Nation of Alberta, Elders and Indigenous artists/community members.
About the Art Selection Process
The Edmonton Arts Council issued an Expression of Interest to Indigenous Artists resident in Canada in August, 2015. Sixteen artists were shortlisted and attended an indepth workshop October 31-November 1, 2015 in Edmotnon. The workshop was facilitated by Candice Hopkins and included site visits and knowledge sharing from the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, Métis Nation of Alberta, and Elders Jerry Saddleback (Samson Cree First Nation), John Janvier (Dene - Cold Lake First Nation), Denis Paul (Stony Nakoda - Paul First Nation), and Ron Lameman (Beaver Creek Lake Cree Nation).
Based on this immersion into the stories, histories, and cultures of "this place" the artists then created full artistic designs and models. The six final concepts were selected in early 2016 and unveiled to the public in April.
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