Treaty Six Contemporary Art Festival invites applications from Indigenous artists for Sept. event

by Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

(ANNews) – The Treaty Six Contemporary, in association with the Edmonton Arts Council, has  announced The Treaty Six Contemporary Art Festival: “Canada’s very first all-Indigenous, multidisciplinary contemporary art festival by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people,” according to artistic director Gabrielle Whiskeyjack.

The event will be held in early September, 2021 in Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Treaty 6 Territory.

From now until June 16, the Collective is taking applications for Indigenous artists to exhibit work in the Festival.

Indigenous artists in Treaty 6 who are working in the fields of visual art/painting, performance art, music, and spoken-word are encouraged to apply — but every artist is welcome. This includes both established and emerging artists; so long as you identify as an artist, regardless of earnings or notoriety.

“What we are looking for is quality and passion,” says Whiskeyjack.

“The Collective’s mission from day one was to facilitate promotion and exhibition for up-and- coming Indigenous artists in Treaty 6 Territory…and this Festival is meant to do that.

“We need Indigenous people in management positions. We need Indigenous people running the show. We need Indigenous voices amplifying other Indigenous voices.”

“If we can achieve what we set out to do, the name Treaty 6 Contemporary will be featured in every Canadian art history book for many years to come,” concludes Whiskeyjack. “University students will be tested on what we’re about to do.

“The landscape of Canadian Art is going to change for the better.”

The collective is also offering a mentorship program for emerging Indigenous artists — which is anyone who has not exhibited work in a professional setting. Successful mentorship applicants will learn from and collaborate with industry professionals in the fields of visual art, performance art, music, or spoken-word to create a brand-new project made specifically for the festival. Each Emerging artist in the program will be paid to cover the costs of their creation; they will have travel covered for them for the festival; and will have a designated spot in the artist line-up.

For more information on how to apply for exhibition, visit

The Treaty Six Contemporary is an all-Indigenous, multidisciplinary artist collective based in Western Treaty 6 Territory with a focus on facilitating mentorship, networking, and exhibition for Indigenous artists. The Collective was founded by Jake Cardinal Jr. in late 2020.

The Treaty Six Contemporary Art Festival is sponsored by the Edmonton Arts Council, a not- for-profit organization that supports and promotes the arts community in Edmonton. The EAC works to increase the profile and involvement of arts and culture in all aspects of our community life.

The Edmonton Arts Council recognizes our relationship with the Indigenous people of Treaty 6 territories,” notes Whiskeyjack. “In doing so, we renew our commitment to continuing our collective journey toward the ideals of peace, friendship, and understanding at the core of that agreement.”

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