June 8-August 4, 2019
In The Future All at Once, Alberta’s first provincial Artist in Residence, Lauren Crazybull, uses the tradition of portraiture to reframe and confront representations of Indigenous people. Using acrylic on canvas, her portraits find a personal power unique to each sitter, and with this exhibition Crazybull captures the collective power that comes from choosing to be vulnerable in healing the past and powerful in determining Indigenous Futures.
“When creating this work I thought about a younger version of myself. Growing up as a young person in foster care, I saw false ideas of what Indigeneity could mean. The only representation I could see was clouded through the lens of small town racism. When Idle No More began and Indigenous people took control of how we are represented and seen and heard, we shaped a future for ourselves. The refusal to be misrepresented has shaped the way we are witnessed now. I want to think about Indigenous Futures as a world we began shaping for ourselves in the past and how we continue to push that today. I believe that our choice to be vulnerable in our healing and uprising has created power. I kept all of these ideas in mind when creating these portraits.
To represent someone truly is a challenging task. Traditionally, the subject of the portrait remains at the mercy of the viewer. Through portraiture, I explore a contemporary relationship with the sitter the artist and the viewer. In these works, many of the sitters stare straight at the viewer, seeking to interrogate and focus on the gaze that is historically cast onto Indigenous people in art. All of the people represented in these works are Indigenous people I’ve met and photographed. They are all folks I admire in different ways. Using acrylic on canvas, I try to find a personal power unique to each individual creating a larger idea of Indigenous representation. Today is a future for our past selves.”
-Lauren Crazybull, 2019