Public Art

October 05, 2021

About the Mural

This mural was made possible through funds supplied by the Embrace the Outdoors grant offered through Parks Foundation Calgary and the City of Calgary.

 

Ohkoi’sski

Ohkoi’sski is the Blackfoot word for track.

 

Track /trak/ noun

a mark or line of marks left by a person, animal, or vehicle in passing.

 

Former Innisfail residents, Ryan Jason Allen Willert (Siksika Nation) and Karen Scarlett (4th generation Alberta settler) collaborated to create this mural on the East side of the Alexandra Centre Society building in Inglewood. 

The mural has two separate but connected pieces. 

 

First, the mural on the wall depicts eagle feathers, animal tracks and the confluence of the Elbow and Bow Rivers. Both artists felt the symbolism in the mural mattered most. 

The eagle feather is the feather of a golden eagle that has lost his spots and is now an adult eagle.

Animal tracks were chosen as an inspiration to be active. As the artists worked together on the mural they discussed how our community has become separated through colonialism and racism. The animal tracks represent life before Settler and Indigenous cultures became divided.

The red river is a symbol of life's blood and shows the confluence of the Elbow and Bow rivers. This is an important and special place in Calgary both physically and spiritually. It also depicts our cultures coming together.

 

The second part of the mural is our fun hopscotch game on the sidewalk in front of the mural. 

 

Ryan and Karen had originally designed the hopscotch game to incorporate animal and human tracks but when they were on site painting, they decided that the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada was just a few days away and they needed to create a special moment to honour all of the lives affected by the Residential Schools. The artists chose to use small childrens footprints in orange as a tribute to them and create a place where families could have conversation around truth and reconciliation.

 

As we move through the world, we leave our trace... our essence … our Ohkoi’sski.

 

PLAY OUR GAMES

 

Find the Ohkoi’sski

Find the tracks on the mural and which ones were made by these Alberta animals: 

(hint, there are only four correct answers)

 

Áápomahkihkinaa.. (Mountain goat)

Omahkatayo….... (mountain lion)

Kiááyo…………. (bear)

Ponoká……… (elk)  

Áwákaasii………... (deer)

Omahkai’stoo….. (raven)

Iiníí………… (bison)

Makóyi….………... (wolf)

Ksísskstaki....... (beaver)

Míísinsski………... (badger)

 

Ohkoi’sski Hopscotch

Hopscotch is a popular game played around the world. There are various rules/versions. 

You can make up your own rules or find all kinds of information about hopscotch here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopscotch

 

Most importantly, get hopping and having fun!

 

The Artists

 

Ryan Jason Allen Willert         instagram.com/stonegrowth

Ryan Jason Allen Willert is a professional artist and muralist living in Red Deer, Alberta. 

 

Ryan was born and raised in Southern Alberta. Although he was brought up in a non-Indigenous community, he has since reconnected with his Blackfoot roots (Siksika Nation) carrying many titles. Ryan learned the art of black ink drawing and sales from his father Richard (Dicky) Stimson, another artist from the Siksika Nation; and continues to grow as a traditional Blackfoot artist. 

 

You can see Ryans murals and commissions across Alberta and around the world.

 

Karen Scarlett karenscarlett.com

Karen Scarlett grew up fourth-generation on the family dairy farm west of Innisfail, Alberta. She has made art her entire life.

 

Karen has been inspired by the people, places, flora and fauna that have surrounded her throughout her life.You could call her a self taught artist although she will tell you she learns from everyone around her and loves to create, share and teach what she has learned.

 

Karen lives in Calgary, Alberta where she works from her studio. You can find her work in public, corporate and private collections in Alberta and around the world.

 

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July 08, 2021

The Alexandra Centre has been adorned with new art along 9th Avenue.  The set of 4 art panels bring together content, cultures, history, community, and artists to create… Convergence. 

The Alexandra Centre Society has prints of the Convergence panel art available for pre-order. 

Prints will come framed and signed by the artists. 

Prints are available for $95 each. 

Please fill out our pre-order form found here.

Once the prints are available, you will be contacted to confirm your purchase. 

Thank you for supporting the artists and the Alexandra Centre Society (registered charity #118781996). 

We hope you enjoy the Convergence artwork as much as we do! Find out more information on the Convergence art project here: https://alexandracentresociety.org/public-art/convergence

 

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May 17, 2021

Project Title: Convergence

The confluence of the Elbow and Bow Rivers is a special place in Southern Alberta.

This art piece celebrates many special and little known details of the Inglewood/Ramsay area, home to the Alexandra Centre Society.

These panels draw numerous elements together; we celebrate history, cultures, and community through their creation.

The colours of the panels--red, blue, green, and white--have cultural significance, and were inspired by the Metis sash.

The red ribbon floating across the panels was inspired by imagery from a 100 year-old map of the rivers, was overlaid onto the panels to represent the ties that connect and converge our cultures. It is also evocative of the chinook arch that all Calgarians can see from time-to-time on the Western horizon. Red also seemed to be the obvious choice as it connects us to Calgary’s branding, represents the blood of life, and is used as a celebratory colour in many cultures.

Content, cultures, history, community, and artists all come together to create… Convergence.

 

Individual Panel Names + Descriptions

Tipi’s: Winter Count by Smith Wright
In the very beginning, The Siksika (Blackfoot) were a nomadic tribe, always following the buffalo.They would hunt and gather throughout the plains during the warmer seasons. When winter came, the Siksika people would travel to the mountains using the forests as shelter from the cold winds and snowy plains.

Tent Town; Following the Railroad by Karen Scarlett
Once Fort Calgary was established, it attracted the railway where a tent town popped up along the tracks in what would become Inglewood. The Alexandra Centre Society Building sits in the place where a tent town originally popped up along the railway tracks.

Red River Cart: Metis Arrive by Edwin McGowan
A key reason for the Metis move west was to provision the various forts scattered through what are now the Provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. They also came to take up land to farm, hunt buffalo, and facilitate trade. The cart is an iconic symbol of the Metis. They were constructed in the Red River area of Manitoba for the journeys west, hence the term Red River Cart. In the late 1800’s and well into the 1900’s the Inglewood area was predominantly populated by the Metis.

McVittie’s Cabin; Calgary’s First House by Karen Scarlett
McVittie’s Cabin was said to be the first house in Calgary built by A.W.McVittie, a Dominion Land Surveyor around 1882. It was donated to the zoo by J.B.Cross and moved to the zoo on St. George's Island, in 1933. It served many purposes over the years, Scout Hall, Tom Baines' office and first aid station. It was eventually moved to Heritage Park.

 

Artist Biographies

Karen Scarlett
Karen Scarlett is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist. She grew up fourth generation on the family farm west of Innisfail on the great plains of Canada. Karen takes her biggest inspiration from the land and the people that surround her. You can find Karen's art in private and corporate collections around the world. See more of her work at: karenscarlett.com

Edwin McGowan
Edwin McGowan is Metis, born April 7,1950 in Winnipeg. He is a retired Earth Scientist with an MSc. degree from the University of Manitoba and is currently enrolled at the Alberta University of the Arts in pursuit of a BFA degree.

Smith Wright
Smith Wright has made art his entire life. He is Siksika (Blackfoot). His work blends Siksika traditional methods and practices with contemporary style and techniques. In 2021, Smith obtained his BFA degree in painting from the Alberta University of the Arts.

 

Acknowledgements

Funding: The Alexandra Centre Society would like to thank the City of Calgary and private donors that supported the Convergence art project.   

In-Kind Donation: The ACS would also like to thank Calibre Construction for donating their time and labor to assist us with hanging the exterior art murals.

Special Support:  The ACS would like to thank Troy Patenaude, Director of Cultural Development with Fort Calgary for his contributions to the project.

 

Prints Pre-Order Information:  Please visit our webpage for information on how to pre-order framed art prints of the Convergence panels! https://alexandracentresociety.org/convergence-framed-art-prints

 

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