Joane Cardinal - Schubert, The Lesson (1999),
Calgary-based artist Joane Cardinal-Schubert, described as Canada's First Nations Renaissance Woman, integrates her experiences as a First Nations person with the "reservation" of art. Especially when working with issues that historically have been "reserved" for First Nations people, her work serves up a double whammy. From works on paper and canvas to room-sized installations, Cardinal-Schubert's artwork is powerfully direct.
Her themes appropriate such Western European concepts as education, documen-tation, preservation and presentation and the curatorial notion of a retrospective itself. She relies heavily on text, plus typical museum and educational display vehicles - like classroom blackboards and desks, museum cases and gallery plinths - to mount her social statements about traditional stereotypes of Native People, the dictates of Eurocentric art history, and differences in family and cultural alliances.
The current exhibit was organized by the Muttart Gallery in Calgary as a survey of selected works spanning thirty years of art making. Included are works completed in 1969 when a Renaissance in Native spirituality began. At that time, Cardinal-Schubert began to use art as a "soft-sell" for the harsh realities of contemporary Native culture.
© Mia Johnson