Plain(s) Warrior Artist (1999-2003)

I Dreamed of Being a Warrior (1999)

My quest to find my place in the world has taken me many places physically, intellectually and spiritually. My work comes from a culmination of searching for a way to comment on the worlds that I live in, investigating issues of personal and cultural identities. As a Métis woman I am well versed in the difficulties of defining cultural identity. It is from this unique perspective that I map the territory that Aboriginal artists must navigate in imaging themselves. I am interested in exploring that space that has developed for aboriginal image-makers who dare confront stereotypes and forge new identities playing with the lure of globalization yet maintaining their footing in their evolving traditions.

In my earlier series, Longing and Not Belonging, I explored the similarities between the family photo album and the ledger art of the plains warrior artist at the turn of the nineteenth century that acted as a record of the exploits and history of the maker. This work also explored the realization of the heroes in my life, strong women…my mother, my sisters, my aunts and my grandmothers. I placed images of these women with warrior women from popular culture that in turn highlighted their quiet heroism. In this work I had turned to family snapshots in hopes that by re-visiting my early years that I would discover visual evidence, clues to explain the shaping of my identity and to better situate myself as a contemporary native woman.

The images from my series, Plain(s) Warrior Artist,depicted this continuing struggle to find my place in the world only a shift has occurred; instead of looking outside for a hero, I become one. I had always been searching for a hero and found one in the television character of Xena Warrior Princess. My work has always been diaristic and serial in nature and I took this a step further and situated my character within the context of Plains Ledger art that chronicled the lives of Plain(s) Warrior Artist. I fashioned my character based upon my fictional hero and the Plain(s) Warrior Artist was born and set out on many adventures.