Lauren Crazybull   TSIMA KOHTOTSITAPIIHPA Where are you from?

May 15, 2020 - June 21, 2020

Lauren Crazybull, a Niitsitapi and Dené painter currently residing in Edmonton, returned to Kainai territory to research the land and language of her family as a part of her artistic research as 2019 Alberta Artist-in-Residence. In this region she met with artists and elders, and connected to landmarks and historical sites of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Through this process, she has created her own map based on her personal exploration of the lands across the province, and how they have informed her own practiced in becoming an artist. 

TSIMA KOHTOTSITAPIIHPA Where are you from? includes the hand-painted map of Indigenous territories now known as Treaty 6, 7, and 8 territories of Alberta, traversed by Lauren Crazybull. The photographic documentation of this journey has culminated in a book and an audio work by Lauren Crazybull, featuring a score by musician Matthew Cardinal. TSIMA KOHTOTSITAPIIHPA Where are you from? was premiered at Latitude 53 Gallery in an exhibition curated by Noor Bhangu and will tour throughout Alberta. The Southern Alberta Art Gallery will connect with youth of the region to share Lauren Crazybull’s powerful new works, including a screening of a short documentary IIKAAKIIMAAT, by filmmaker Conor McNally during the opening celebration. This film screening is presented in partnership with the Reconciliation Lethbridge Committee and the City of Lethbridge. 

When I think about repatriation, I think about going into a museum and taking back items. I learned from Martin HeavyHead Sr. that repatriation takes many forms, including learning stories, making relations and visiting the places where our ancestors spent time. We can take back these things that were once stolen from us. Sometime this year I decided that the money I received from the Alberta Government would be the money I used to reclaim what I lost during my sixteen years in the child welfare system. To do this I would create a large-scale map of Alberta that focused on Indigenous relationship to land. I would do this through looking for original place names, researching and traveling around Alberta. Halfway through the residency, when I realized that I'm not a cartographer, I decided I would narrow the scope and include myself and my family's relationship to the land in this province. I ended up spending most of my time in Southern Alberta where my mom's side of the family is from. “TSIMA KOHTOTSITAPIIHPA: Where are you from?” has been a way for me to explore the complexity of home and belonging.

—Lauren Crazybull

Curated by Kristy Trinier

Lauren Crazybull is an Edmonton based Blackfoot, Dene visual artist. Lauren's most recent work has looked to explore the tension and power within portraiture by examining the subtle relationship between herself and the subjects she paints. By centring the gaze, beauty and rich humanity of fellow Indigenous people in her recent work, she means to ask poignant questions about how Indigenous identities can be represented, experienced, celebrated and understood through the particular gaze that artistry casts and requires. In 2019, Lauren Crazybull was appointed as Alberta’s first Artist in Residence. In 2018, she was awarded the McLuhan House year-long studio residency. Before fully immersing into the visual art world, Crazybull worked for four years in radio and broadcasting focusing on Indigenous issues. Following that, she worked for two years as the art coordinator at a centre for at-risk youth.  Through this work, she understands that her creative power is a poignant way to assert her own humanity, and advocate, in diverse and subtle ways, for the innate intellectual, spiritual, creative and political fortitude of Indigenous people.

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