Niitsitapi Pi’kssii (Blackfoot Fancy Beings)

A TREX Exhibition

Coming July 28, 2022

July 28 to August 24, 2022

FREE

Coming July 28, 2022

Niitsitapi Pi’kssii (Blackfoot Fancy Beings)

A TREX Exhibition

July 28, 2021 to August 24, 2021

Artists: Ryan Jason Allen Willert and Kalum Teke Dan

Curated by Ashley Slemming with Co-Curator Diana Frost

Developed by the Alberta Society of Artists in partnership with the organization Colouring it Forward.

Niitsitapi Pi’kssíí (Blackfoot Fancy Beings) is an exhibition featuring artworks that depict animals, or “fancy beings,” significant to Blackfoot culture by two contemporary Blackfoot artists. Blackfoot teachings about these animals are a large part of the exhibition, which would not have been possible if not for the generous support of two elders, Martin Heavyhead and Camille Russell. To develop an understanding of balance and harmony in nature and the cycles of renewal that affect seasons of life, it is essential to observe the natural world and its animal cohabitants. This fact is well known in Blackfoot culture. According to Blackfoot author Betty Bastien, the knowledge of the Siksikaitsitapi (or, the Blackfoot Nation) is organized according to thousands of years of observation and participatory relationship with the natural world. This knowledge highlights a reciprocal relationship with the land and the creatures that occupy it; four-legged fur-bearing beings, birds, fish, and humans alike share a kinship with the land, the sky, and all the environments we inhabit. It is with this in mind that this exhibition features a small selection of animals, each with its own significance, story, and teachings. Through a series of consultations with the artists and elders, this exhibition and its educational content has been developed to include accounts from Blackfoot knowledge as well as basic information about each of the animals, including physical descriptions, habitats, diets, and more.

*What is TREX?

Since 1980, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts has supported a provincial Travelling Exhibition (TREX) Program. The TREX program strives to ensure every Albertan is provided with an opportunity to enjoy fully developed exhibitions.

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