Helen Christou Gallery
October 27, 2023 – March 9, 2024
Artist: Marjie Crop Eared Wolf
Curator: Josephine Mills
A mini survey of Káínai Secwépemc artist Marjie Crop Eared Wolf’s work.
Ponokaakii (Elk Woman) offers an introduction to Káínai Secwépemc artist Marjie Crop Eared Wolf’s artistic practice. She has a burgeoning career creating public-site works, such as vinyl wraps with the City of Lethbridge’s public art program and murals at the Waterton Lakes National Park visitor’s centre. This exhibition focuses on the relationship between the personal and the public and, along the wall to the left of this text panel, there are preliminary designs Crop Eared Wolf created for public art works in Galt Gardens and at the fire station on Great Bear Boulevard in Lethbridge. The opposite wall features Brush, a powerfully personal series consisting of brushes the artist made from sand bar willow and hair from brushing her own and her family’s hair. She then made drawings of the brushes and, as part of learning her own language, added Blackfoot words for ‘brush’. On the wall by the staircase, there is a selection from Crop Eared Wolf’s ongoing Contemporary Pictograph series – she adds her own Blackfoot-inspired imagery on top of graffiti and then photographs the result.
The final artwork included in this exhibition is Crop Eared Wolf’s Niitsitapi Chess Set. She initially created the chess pieces during the 2017 LandMarks* course with Jackson 2Bears at the University of Lethbridge. Inspired by the calls for action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) related to education, museums, and reconciliation, the ULethbridge Art Gallery has commissioned the artist to make a second version of the chess set for the Art Collection. During a residency with the Art Gallery, Crop Eared Wolf created the second set and there were opportunities to have tea, talk with the artist, and play chess with the set. Once the finished second version is acquired into the Art Collection, it is essential that the Chess Set continues to be active and engage with TRC call 63.iii: “building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.” Thus, there will be ongoing occasions to play chess, and through play, open up dialogue between settlers and Indigenous people.
*For more information on the LandMarks Art Studio course: www.landmarks.studio/about
Marjie Crop Eared Wolf is a Káínai Secwépemc multidisciplinary artist, designer, and writer. In addition to her thriving art practice, provides coordination/interpretive services for a variety of Indigenous communities and projects, including serving as a liaison between Waterton Lakes National Park and the Blood Tribe. Crop Eared Wolf’s artwork is greatly influenced by her Káínai Secwépemc culture as well as areas of intersection with contemporary western ideas and approaches. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art in 2009 from the University of Lethbridge and a Kainai Studies Certificate from the Red Crow Community College in 2015.