welcome - Edmonton Arts Council

Walrus Talks – Aboriginal City

Thursday, April 23, 2015 | Shaw Conference Centre, 9797 Jasper Ave. NW, Edmonton

Produced by Dawn Marie Marchand and Dawn Saunders Dahl, the Walrus Talks Aboriginal City Art Exhibit features the work of more than 30 Aboriginal artists from Western Canada, Edmonton and area. This project was funded by the Walrus, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation with support from the Edmonton Arts Council. 


“We have finally come to a point in our history as First Nations of sharing our art as a contemporary expression, derived from our cultural memory and our hidden history – a composite knowledge of icon, symbol and concept; of interpretation and visioning: of experimentation and experience; of movement and of new creation – ever aware that we take responsibility for our creations, to guard them and use them well.”

Joane Cardinal-Schubert

Remembering, Respecting, Regenerating

Aboriginal artists are all around, working within two ancestries, two traditions, two aesthetics.  Identities are re-shaped by surroundings, creating Interdisciplinary Artists that are rooted in different aesthetic traditions that live in urban and rural lands.  Indigenous Artists strive to protect, nourish and interpret their culture through their processes and work. 

Although there are many Artists that not represented here tonight, we acknowledge their presence and their contributions.  The Artists that have been included in this exhibition have exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, providing a diverse strength in multitudes of mediums.  They are designers, photographers, curators, educators, architects, ceramicists, painters, fashion designers, dancers, writers, actors, storytellers, who also work in the film, performance, public art and installation fields.  Many carry more than one of the above disciplines in their artistic range. The Artworks shown are deeply rooted in the land and identity – they continue to embrace tradition and are firmly planted in the present, paving the way for future generations. 

Hiy hiy


Presenting Artists


 Brandon Atkinson Big Bear and Whale


Brandon Atkinson is Métis from Edmonton, Alberta where he has lived his whole life. Atkinson started drawing at eight and draws everyday. His art is strongly influenced by his grandparents and encouragement. Atkinson’s work was recently featured in “Art in the Heart” exhibition at City Hall.



Melissa-Jo Belcourt Moses comes from a rich Métis ancestry and possesses a wealth of cultural skills acquired from Métis and Aboriginal elders throughout northern and central Alberta. As a certified instructor, she has taught decorative arts and creative skills within the Native Cultural art programs on Native reserves and Métis settlements. A deep connection to her roots is the inspiration for much of her artwork and ongoing research in developing in others an appreciation for the Métis contribution to our country’s homeland.  In 2006 Belcourt Moses was invited to represent Alberta cultural heritage in Washington DC for the 49th annual Folk Life Festival. Belcourt Moses was also given the Aboriginal Role Model of Alberta Art Award in 2009 for her work as an Artisan and as a recognized cultural art instructor. 


Sarah and Chrystal Buffalo

Sparkling Buffalo


Chrystal and Sarah Buffalo are a mother and daughter team. They started off making jewelry as a hobby in 2005 and developed their business together as Sparking Buffalo. They have become a fixture in Edmonton's Native Cultural Events scene after moving to the city in 2008. Sparking Buffalo can be found annually at some of Edmonton's biggest events such as Heritage Days, Knowing Our Spirits, or the Ben Calf Robe Powwow. The Sparkling Buffalo jewelry made its debut on the fourth season of Blackstone now cementing their designs to an international audience. They have since been interviewed on CBC to talk about their art and how Cree culture has infused their work. Still, Sparkling Buffalo will always keep close to their roots – attending any powwow, round dance or art exhibit in Edmonton area. They are proud of their grass roots origins and love to be a part of the community.

Follow Chrystal and Sarah Buffalo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Jason Carter

Jason Carter stone carving


Jason Carter is member of the Little Red River Cree Nation and one of Canada’s most exciting and accomplished contemporary aboriginal visual artists. He is celebrated for both his paintings and his carvings, and has been commissioned across Canada for major public pieces. Most recently, The Edmonton International Airport commissioned a permanent installation for their new wing. Carter was celebrated as ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ at the Mayor’s Evening of the Arts as well Avenue’s Magazine 2012 Top 40 Under 40. He has illustrated three children’s books, including, “WHO IS BOO: The Terrific Tales of One Trickster Rabbit”. In December 2011, Carter opened his own gallery, The Carter-Ryan Gallery, in Canmore Alberta.

Follow Jason Carter on Twitter

 portrait of Lee Dranger


Lee Deranger was born and raised in Toronto, and has spent most of her adult life in Alberta. Her Anishnabe heritage is an important part of her daily life and is reflected in her work including porcupine quillwork or other traditional art forms along with her paintings. She was fortunate to have been mentored and taught to paint by the late Don Nixon throughout her childhood well into her teen years. Deranger currently resides in Calgary where she often teaches traditional art forms. She donates art work to charitable causes and speaks out through her art about environmental issues, especially those affecting the water. Her husband is Dene from Fort Chipewyan, the community downstream from the oil sands.

T.Houle "That Thing That Goes"


Terrance Houle is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary media artist and a member of the Blood Tribe. Involved with Aboriginal communities all his life, he has traveled to reservations throughout North America participating in Powwow dancing along with his native ceremonies. Houle utilizes at his discretion performance, photography, video/film, music and painting. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design, Houle received his BFA in 2003. His ground-breaking art quickly garnered him significant accolades and opportunities.  His work has been exhibited across Canada, Parts of the United States, Australia, Europe and England. A small retro exhibition of Houle’s work from 2003-2009, GIVN’R, was shown at PLUG-IN Institute for Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Houle lives and maintains his art practice and is a founding member of Indigeneity Artist Collective Society. INDIGENEITY is an artist run society and collective of Indigenous artists from the Calgary area.

Listen to Houle’s 2014 album GHOST DAYS here.


portrait of Inuk (Brendalynn Inuk Trennert)

Inuk “Robin” caribou tufting

INUK (Brendalynn Inuk Trennert)

Inuk was born and raised in the Northwest Territories (NT), Canada; she is of Inuvialuit (Inuit of the Western Arctic) and European decent. Inuk's artistic journey began in the spring of 1990, when she surprised herself and others as well with her natural ability to caribou hair tuft. She believes that, "learning to tuft on my own accord helped me find, develop and hone my own techniques and in the end this brought out my own unique style and natural love of caribou hair tufting." In the NT, moose hair tufting is known as one of the traditional crafts from the Fort Providence area. The craft was dying out; Inuk’s interest brought tufting to new heights and into the fine art category. With continual perseverance, determination and hard work, Inuk has become a "Master Tufter", in which she proudly, yet humbly accepts this acknowledgment with a smile.


portrait of artist AJA Louden


A.J.A. (pronounced like 'Ajay') Louden is an emerging creative earning himself a name on the Albertan arts scene for his work as an artist, designer and educator. From a family tree with roots split between Jamaica and Canada, Louden is a child of contrast. Whether it's his bold, arresting, spray-painted portraits of figures as divergent as Peter Tosh and Richard Nixon, or his explosive, brightly coloured abstract work informed by his background in graffiti, Louden’s vision is clearly focused on juxtaposition. A background in the sciences, including biology, sociology, and chemistry is a major influence on the concepts and processes behind his work.

Follow AJA on Twitter and Instagram

Tanya Lukin Linklater  “grain(s)” performance and installation


Tanya Lukin Linklater practice spans experimental choreography, performance, video, and text. Her work has been performed/exhibited nationally and internationally. Lukin Linklater studied at University of Alberta and Stanford University where she received the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and the Louis Sudler Prize for Creative and Performing Arts. She was awarded the Chalmers Professional Development Grant in 2010, K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Literature in 2013 and has received generous support from the Ontario Arts Council. Lukin Linklater is Alutiiq with family from the Native Villages of Port Lions and Afognak in southern Alaska and makes her home in northern Ontario, Canada. She has lived and worked in Edmonton for nine years.

Donnie MacDonald


Donnie MacDonald is Cree First Nation from Onion Lake Cree Nation. He is an artist, traditional flute enthusiast and performer. He has crafted everything from drums, entire regalia, powwow dancer figurines, to custom teepee lamps. You will find him on the powwow trail in the summer and performing for youth along with displaying his art at various venues throughout the winter.

Follow Donnie MacDonald on Facebook


portrait of Kathleen McIntyre

Kathleen McIntyre beaded boots


Kathleen McIntyre, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta. McIntyre is a maker of traditional and contemporary Native America Art. She has been creating fine pieces of art in a variety of mediums for close to 30 years: from painting, sewing, quillwork, jewellery making, and most of all beadwork.

Follow Kathleen McIntyre on Facebook.

 portrait of Dianne Meili


Of Cree ancestry, Dianne Meili has an inner fire to create clay art that crackles with spirit. Each piece she hand forms and fires speaks to us of the mystical. She incorporates ancient symbology and animals, especially horses, in her work. Meili high fires many of her sculptures, smudge bowls and spirit keepers in a gas kiln, but also uses the raku method. Meili lives in the town of Stony Plain and has belonged to the Parkland Potters Guild there for ten years.


Aaron Paquette

Aaron Paquette Grandin mural


Aaron Paquette is a First Nations Métis artist, author and speaker known for his bright colours, strong lines and for sharing new ways of looking at age-old experiences and beliefs. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Paquette has been creating art for the past 20 years. He apprenticed and has become both a Cathedral Stained Glass artist and a Goldsmith, influences of which can be seen in the line and structure of his paintings – displayed in various galleries throughout the country. He has worked with the Edmonton Catholic and Public School boards on many projects ranging from elementary school visits that tie art into curricular learning to mural painting. His first YA novel, “Lightfinder”, was released in 2014 through Kegedonce Press.

Follow Aaron Paquette on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

portrait of Jordan Pearson


Jordan Pearson is a Métis visual artist born in Edmonton and raised in Alberta, Hawaii and the southern United States. Pursuing an art career was a natural decision for Pearson as it meant she could continue to connect and work with her hands, head and heart. Having recently discovered her ancestry, Pearson views her Métis heritage as the missing piece – a bridge to better understand and bring balance to herself and her surroundings. She recently received her Visual Arts Diploma from Red Deer College and is currently working, teaching, and painting in Edmonton.

Follow Jordan Pearson on Facebook.

dougie rain


Dougie Rain is A Nakota/Cree from the Paul First Nation and is recognized throughout North America as a “Champion Traditional Dancer”.  As one of Canada’s most prestigious traditional dancer’s Rain has been working with children youth and families for over 20 years. Rain is an avid outdoorsman and hunter. He is also host of CFWE Edmonton's “The Heartbeat of Nations” radio show.

Follow Dougie Rain on Facebook.

portrait of Coty Savard


Coty Savard is a Dene, Cree and Métis filmmaker and producer. Her films most often relate to Indigenous issues and social politics. Savard’s most recent work Pehonan concentrated on the over-representation of Indigenous people in Edmonton Alberta’s homeless population.  When not making films she spends her time researching local histories or watching Star Trek.

Follow Coty Savard on Twitter.

portrait of Tiffany Shaw-Collinge


Tiffany Shaw-Collinge is an artist and intern architect whose work involves the close study of atmosphere, craft, technology and community in the areas she lives. Born in Calgary Shaw-Collinge was raised in Edmonton; her Métis heritage from Fort McMurray and Fort MacKay. In 2006 she received a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University with an interdisciplinary degree in film, painting, video and sound. In 2012 she graduated with distinction with a Masters in Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Shaw-Collinge has exhibited in various galleries as well as curated exhibitions in Edmonton.  In 2012, she represented Alberta in the Architecture Venice Biennale in the Canada Pavilion as part of Migrating Landscapes.

Follow Tiffany Shaw-Collinge on Instagram.


portrait of Adrian Stimson

Adrian Stimson “Sick and Tired” (2005) Collection of the Mackenzie Art Gallery


Adrian Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in southern Alberta. He is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and educator with a BFA with distinction from the Alberta College of Art & Design and MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. As an interdisciplinary artist, Stimson’s work includes paintings, installations, collodion wet plate photography, sculpture and performance. His recent exhibits and performances have been seen across Canada and in Paris, France. Stimson was awarded the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award in 2009, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003, and the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 for his human rights and diversity activism in various communities.


portrait of Destiny Swiderski

D.Swiderski “New Buffalo/ Shkimashkode bzhiki” (2010) 1500 Casino Dice


Destiny Swiderski is an Métis Canadian artist living on Vancouver Island. Known for site-specific installation art that utilizes materials that follow a precise algorithm and narrative, her process is extracted from the people and stories of that particular place.

Swiderski received her Bachelors of Environmental Design in Architecture in 2007 from the University of Manitoba. Her experience led her to create installations at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, where she experimented with the utilization of multiples using one material. Swiderski participated in public art project in Edmonton with a temporary installation of a 4,000 square foot dream catcher, and a 30-foot wood wall in the new Mill Woods Seniors Centre and Multicultural Facility. Swiderski looks forward to the future with planned collaborations that speak to her Indigenous decent.

Jean Tait " Weathered Teachings " acrylic on canvas


Since 1992, Jean Tait has traveled to various sites all over the world to record rock art (petroglyphs and pictographs), and producing work derived from these locales. This study of rock art has continued to expand her understanding and fascination with symbols as a vehicle for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing. Her “medicine paintings” led to an interest in art therapy, which in private practice as art can heal, she works with clients to assist them with their own healing journeys.


portrait of Will Truchon

W.Truchon “Foothills, Looking North” (1992) acrylic on board


In 1992 Will Truchon earned a Bachelor of Fine Art at the University of Manitoba, a Master of Fine Art from the Ohio State University, and a Master of Architecture from the University of Calgary. Truchon works in several mediums such as ceramics, painting, multi-media sculpture and photography. Among his other artistic interests are life-long passions for architecture, industrial and graphic design, film, music and general entertainment. From 1997 to 2007 he was a partner of the Hot Pot Studio, which designed and distributed hand painted tableware to Western Canada. From 2001 to 2007, he was Artistic Director of The Works Art & Design Festival showcasing quality art in Canada and abroad. As an Intern Architect registered with the Alberta Association of Architects, Truchon is enjoying the developmental process to fulfill his certification.

portrait of Lana Whiskeyjack


ayisîyiniw ôta asiskiy. I am human from this earth

Lana Whiskeyjack nitisikason, multidisciplinary treaty Indian artist from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alberta, Canada. Currently she resides in rural northern Alberta and has a studio downtown Edmonton. Whiskeyjack’s art has been communicated as passionate and expressive, born from the deep roots of her culture, history and spirit. With emotionally charged expression, her art ranges from dry wit to soulfully beautiful creations of various rich colourful mediums of acrylics, oils, earth, to found objects. While not shying away from difficult subjects, her art reflects the intrinsic beauty of the world around us – each piece is a product of deep thought and experience filtered through heart and emotion.

Follow Lana Whiskeyjack on Instagram.


 Participating Organizations

 Aboriginal Indian Investment Corporation
Alberta Aboriginal Arts and Rubaboo Festival
Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centres
Boyle Street Community Services
Business Link
City of Edmonton
Confederacy of Treaty 6 and Fort Edmonton Park
Edmonton Arts Council - QE Park and Arena projects
Enterprise Edmonton and Aksis
La Cité Francophone and Voyageur Festival
Samson Cultural Museum and Archives
Mother Earth Essentials
New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service
Rogers Place Arena
University of Alberta Faculty of Native Studies and Alberta School of Business Executive Education


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Edmonton Arts Council • Prince of Wales Armoury, 2nd Floor, 10440 108 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 3Z9 • info@edmontonarts.ca • p. 780.424.2787 | f. 780.425.7620