Feature artist for December 2021: Lana Whiskeyjack

(ANNews) – The Art Gallery of St. Albert is presenting a special ongoing series entitled We Are the Medicine by Lana Whiskeyjack in its main exhibition space until January 29, 2022. The stunning image on the cover of the December 2021 edition of Alberta Native News entitled Sâkipakâwipîsim – Leaf budding moon by Lana Whiskeyjack is part of this exhibit.

The series We Are the Medicine presents a deeply personal rendering of the nêhiyaw teachings of the Thirteen Sacred Moons. Within the nêhiyaw (Cree) annual calendar, the year is divided into thirteen moons, each with their own teachings and spiritual significance. Passed on in ceremony and from community knowledge keepers, the teachings remind iskwêwak (women) and diverse genders of their sacred relationship to nurture and safeguard the cultural lifestyle of the community.

Lana Whiskeyjack is a multidisciplinary artist and scholar from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Treaty Six, Alberta. Based in amiskwaciy waskahikan (Edmonton), Whiskeyjack creates deeply thoughtful works steeped in emotional and spiritual significance. As the title of the exhibition suggests, her work is an act of recognition and gratitude to ancestral medicine, restoring balance and nêhiyaw perspective. 

“A traditional concept that has been shared with me throughout my life is that we are born with the medicine that we need to restore balance within ourselves,” said Whiskeyjack in 2020. “I am reminded by each creation that I am born with the medicine to help myself.”

Luscious, vibrant colours permeate each portrait-like study. Whiskeyjack captures relationships and interconnections, incorporates relatives (human and more-than-human, past and present), tools, seasonal changes and natural phenomena into a wider conversation. Her intention is to convey the beauty and vitality of nêhiyaw culture, promoting curiosity, un/learning and to soulfully (re)connect to the spirit of being a human of this land.

“This is the first time we’re showing Lana Whiskeyjack’s work,” said curator Emily Baker, “and it’s the first time that this series has been seen all together so it’s brand new.” Baker will be leading a virtual tour of the exhibit on December 14 at noon and an in-person tour on December 17 at noon. Registrations can be made via Eventbrite at artgalleryofstalbert.ca.

As part of the Restriction Exemption Program, proof of vaccination, medical exemption or a negative PCR or rapid test within 72 hours of visiting is required to access the Gallery. Visit the Gallery’s COVID website page for more information. The Gallery’s COVID-19 protocols compliment government regulations to provide a safe space for families to visit.

The Art Gallery of St. Albert is located at 19 Perron Street in St. Albert. For details about tours and operating hours visit artgalleryofstalbert.ca


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