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Stoney Nakoda artists encouraged to apply for art in Calgary council chambers

“We’re asking artists from each of the four major Nations around the city to submit examples of past work for the opportunity to create a large-scale textile work.”
Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda artist Gordon Wesley's "Respect and Honour" is on display at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary until Jan. 15 as part of the Land is Home project led by the City of Calgary. Photo courtesy of City of Calgary

STONEY NAKODA – The work of an Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda artist could soon grace the walls of the City of Calgary’s council chambers, in one of many public art opportunities currently available to the Nation’s artists.

Indigenous curator with the City of Calgary, Jessica McMann, said the project hopes to commission four textile artworks by female or two-spirit artists of any gender to exhibit in chambers for a period of 10 years.

“We’re asking artists from each of the four major Nations around the city to submit examples of past work for the opportunity to create a large-scale textile,” said McMann.

“We’re looking for traditional, cultural forms – it could be quillwork, it could be beadwork, it could be moose hair tufting, felting or applique – any of those traditional forms are welcome.”

The deadline to apply for the initiative is March 31 and artists will be chosen by a selection panel comprised of elders, artists and community members from Stoney Nakoda, Blackfoot Confederacy, Tsuut’ina Nation, and Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3 to ensure the art created accurately represents each Nation’s unique history and community.

“[Chambers] is a place of governance and so it’s important for us to have a project that reflects those early relationships with treaty signing,” said McMann.

She noted the importance of Indigenous art being featured in a space where political decisions are made as a reminder that Indigenous people lived on this land long before the arrival of European settlers.

The Mohkinstsis Public Art Guiding Circle, a group of artists that supports the City’s art program, was the main driver behind the initiative, which will see colour and culture added to otherwise grey walls of council chambers.

The work created will be a major addition to Calgary’s Indigenous public art, which, when McMann began working with the City, made up less than two per cent of its overall collection.

McMann said in addition to artists being able to apply, the selection panel provides another opportunity for Stoney Nakoda members to become involved.

Panellists will receive an honorarium for their contributions and the artists selected will be paid for their work, with panellists also receiving paid training before becoming part of the selection process.

Winning artists will each be paid up to $20,000, which helps cover their time and the cost of materials. Textile submissions should be approximately 90 by 60 centimetres in size and submissions can be emailed to [email protected]. Questions may also be directed to the same address.

For more information, visit

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. The position covers Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda First Nation and Kananaskis Country.

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