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In early 2022, the Town of Canmore issued a call for Indigenous artists to submit their ideas for a new mural that will adorn the west-facing wall of 907 7 Ave.

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When completed in early September 2022, this work will be the first addition to our collection of public art created by Indigenous artists. The winning submission came from artists Kayla Bellerose (bb iskwew) and Cheyenne Bearspaw (Chey Ozinja-Thiha).

The mural is inspired by the Three Sisters Mountains in the Canmore area and highlights the resilience and power of Indigenous women in the Treaty 7 area, particularly the Stoney Nakoda Nations neighboring Canmore.

The color palette of vivid blues, pinks, reds, oranges and purples is inspired by contemporary issues artists face as Indigenous women, such as missing and murdered Indigenous women and the finds of residential school children in mass graves anonymous.

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As a balance to the pain of colonization, artists celebrate that they are still here by using blue, purple and pink, which offer ceremonial print colors to the sky woman and the great-grandmothers. mothers. The artists note that they “wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers who have come before us”.

Artist Kayla Bellerose (bb iskwew) is a multidisciplinary sakâw nehiyaw iskwew and Métis artist from Slave Lake in Treaty 8 territory. The stylistic line of plant life throughout bb iskwew’s work is rooted in the learning of knowledge of native plants and is influenced by her family’s beaded designs and stories. Through the mediums of muralism, beadwork, illustration and photography, bb iskwew hopes to share visual medicine with the world and contribute to a collective future of healing and restoration.

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Cheyenne Bearspaw (Chey Ozinja-Thiha) is a self-taught Bearspaw First Nation artist, Stoney Nakoda. Their home is forever with the mountain people of Mini Thni (Morley, Treaty 7 territory). Chey paints traditional Sioux designs that feature geometric shapes and vibrant colors heavily inspired by powwow dancers in their community. Chey also enjoys creating tattoo-inspired art and hopes to indigenize and fuse the tattoo and art communities. Chey hopes to pave the way for young people in their Nakoda community to achieve their goals the same way she was able to achieve theirs.

The artists said they were happy to talk to members of the community during the installation of the mural. The public is invited to stop for the duration of the installation.

A celebration of the installation and the artists will take place after the work is completed on September 16, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the site of the mural (the west-facing wall of 907 7 Ave.)

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