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Métis history showcased in public art display in Winnipeg bus stop – Folio – University of Alberta



When Métis artist and architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge was commissioned to design an artwork for the Markham bus station in Winnipeg, she wanted to use the stop to showcase Métis land rights. She reached out to the president of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Audrey Poitras, who knew exactly who Shaw-Collinge needed to talk to. 

She suggested Shaw-Collinge reach out to Frank Tough, an historical geographer in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies. Tough leads the Métis Archival Project (MAP) Research Lab, which, for more than 20 years, has conducted research on Métis history and land rights. 

“Always in the back of our minds while we do our research is connecting a person today with historical records of the past. So for us this [art project] was a novel way of doing that,” Tough said.

Shaw-Collinge received permission to use the glass walls of the bus stop to showcase scrip records—the system by which the federal government offered land allotments or money to Métis people for their land rights—and did a community-wide call asking interested Métis people to submit their family scrip records for inclusion.

The records she received, however, were disappointing. 

“If you’re Métis you can go and look for your family name on the Library and Archives website, but the results are just low-quality replications, and the site is not easy to navigate,” Shaw-Collinge said. 

She went to the provincial archives to scan records in high resolution, but found this to be too expensive.

“It would have cost me thousands of dollars to do it properly,” she said, “So then I reached back to Frank. I didn’t realize what a goldmine [the MAP Lab] was.”

Over its 20-year history, the U of A’s MAP Lab has digitized thousands of scrip records into high-resolution, high-quality images.

“This is the approach we’ve been taking since 1993, to make these documents accessible,” said Tough.

To enhance online access, the MAP Lab worked with the Métis National Council to create a database of archival scrip documents that relaunched in 2019. It was the easy access to these documents through that database that facilitated Shaw-Collinge’s art piece. 

“What we did was match up some of the names that she had with our records, and provided not just the applications, but other related documents as well,” said Tough.

“When I talked with Frank, he helped me frame the whole work. He said scrip is just one part. If you want to talk about Métis-specific land rights, you have to talk about land use and occupancy,” said Shaw-Collinge, who added she thinks of Tough and the MAP Lab as collaborators on the work due to their large contribution.

Tough showed Shaw-Collinge a map from 1870 that depicted how the area around the Red River, now known as Winnipeg, was used by Métis people: where they would go for sugaring (maple syrup), fishing, duck hunting and berry-picking, and the river cart trails used for buffalo hunts. 

“It shows not only how they lived along the Red River, but how they moved around the land for resources that sustained their unique way of life. I love this imagery because it talks about Métis people specifically,” said Shaw-Collinge. 

Shaw-Collinge integrated the map into her work, replicating it into the concrete sidewalk of the bus stop. She also created five sculptural markers, like obelisks, to represent the five trading posts indicated on the historic map. Each marker shows images and information related to the history of each fort, including Louis Riel’s 1870 provisional government, formed at Upper Fort Garry, and Pembina Post, which was known as an assembling point for a large number of buffalo hunts. 

The quality of the documents the MAP Lab provided for Shaw-Collinge makes the historical feel of the art piece more immediate to the people at the bus stop who view it, said Christina Williamson, a PhD candidate at Carleton University and a research associate in the lab.

“This bus stop allows the average person to see these historical documents as almost a primary source. I think sometimes people think that history occurred in black and white, this just feels more tangible,” said Williamson.

Shaw-Collinge and Tough share the hope that incorporating this artwork into an everyday space like a bus stop increases awareness of the unique culture and history of the Métis.

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Pandemic Art Exchange wraps up in Hay River – NNSL Media



Barb Hunt-Atwell was one of 10 participants in the Pandemic Art Exchange, which wrapped up in Hay River on June 17.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Even during a pandemic, art must go on.

On June 17, the Pandemic Art Exchange – a project involving multiple anonymous artists contributing to the same pieces of art over five weeks – wrapped up in Hay River.

The project, which began in May, was organized by Dale Loutit, one of the artists.

“I thought it was a great idea considering how dreadful Covid-19 has been on everybody and how we’ve been having to social distance from people,” Loutit said. “It’s definitely created a disconnect between us socially. So I thought it was a good way to keep us connected, and in a safe manner.”

The project involved 10 artists divided into two teams of five.

Each of the artists started a painting/drawing, and Loutit would then rotate the works to the other artists on a team. That means five artists would contribute to one work.

“Each of them had their own canvas to paint on,” said Loutit. “And each week they would submit it to me and I’d switch it with another person who’s on their team. And the teams are anonymous.”

In the end, there were 10 completed paintings/drawings, and the person who started a work kept it.

The artists gathered on June 17 to see all the completed works.

Along with Loutit, the project involved Ashley McKay, Mary Buckley, Barb Hunt-Atwell, Jillian Zdebiak, Kirsten Fischer, Heather Hirst, Lisa Ruggles, Kate Latour and Cynthia Mandeville.

Loutit was impressed with the finished works of art.

“I can’t believe how talented these people are for all their art capabilities,” she said. “It’s blown me away how artistic they are and how amazing.”

It was recommended that they not paint with oils, since that takes too long to dry, but they could use anything else for the works of art, including pencils, markers, stickers and even fabric.

When Loutit received the works back each week, she took progress photos so that, in the end, everyone could see the evolution of the creations over time.

The organizer was inspired to start the Pandemic Art Exchange when a friend in Yellowknife launched a similar project there.

Loutit ensured safety from the coronavirus during the project by having the works of art placed in envelopes and dropped into a bin outside of her home.


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Crap 80s Metal Art is our new favourite thing – Louder



The 1980s was The Golden Age Of Metal. Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Slayer, Mötley Crüe, Celtic Frost, Winger… pound for pound, it threw up more great bands than any other decade in the history of this beautiful planet we call Earth.

But it was a fantastic time to be alive for another reason. The 1980s was the era of really bad album art – and nothing did bad album art like metal.

We’re not talking about the 5th Grade demon that adorns the sleeve of Slayer’s Show No Mercy, or even the physics-and-biology defying cover of Anthrax’s Fistful Of Metal (just how do you punch somebody’s lights out from inside their mouth?).

No, this is next-level insanity. The kind that is usually cooked up by people who don’t usually get to play with anything sharper than crayons. The kind that makes Pantera’s heroically awful Metal Magic cover look like Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (actually, now we mention it…)

Handily for lazy journalists everywhere, the Facebook group Crap 80s Metal Art has pulled together a gloriously grotesque gallery of album sleeves that range from the hilariously wrongheaded to the who-in-the-name-of-a-badly-scribbled-Beelzebub-thought-this-would-be-a-good-idea?  

You’ll find all manner of wrongness there. Woefully rendered barbarian hastily plooped by people who have clearly never seen an actual human before. Snarilng monkey-wolves with 17 eyes and 12 teeth and tongues that would make Gene Simmons weep. Topless demons riding unicorns. Topless unicorns riding demons. And lots and lots of album covers from Italy. Ye gods! Have we forgotten the Rennaissance?  

We’ve cherry-picked some of the best for your delectation here – and by ‘best’ we obviously mean ‘worst’. But we can’t take any credit here – that goes to the mighty warriors who dedicate their lives to digging through crates to unearth these masterpieces. Or at least spend a couple of minutes googling them.

There’s plenty more where these came from. Some might say too much more. But not us. So head over to Facebook to feast your eyes, fill your boots and drink in the full glory of Crap 80s Metal Art. You’ll thank us for it.

Battleaxe – Burn This Town (1983)

Axes? Motorbikes? Furry boots? This should be hanging in the Louvre

Various – No Substitute For Steel (1985)

It’s the HMV logo. Only with a demon instead of a dog. See what they’re doing there? You guys kill us.

Creepin’ Death – Errare Humanum Est…Perseverare Diabolicum

“Look, Keith, you told me to turn it off and turn it on again.”

Because nothing says ’80s heavy metal’ like a topless unicorn playing a skull guitar in front of a Pride flag.

Another comp, another rainbow colour scheme. Is there something you want to talk about, 80s metal?

Rod Sacred – Rod Sacred (1989)

“Do ya think I’m sexy?” Oh, wait, that was Rod Stewart.

Skeletor: The KK Downing Years.

Angeles del Infierno – Todo Lo Que Quiero

Nom, nom, TWANG!

Drysill – Welcome To The Show

Er, we’ll give your show a miss if it’s all the same.

M.T. Eyes – Thunder In My Ears b/w Walk On The Road (1985)

Beware of the… dog? Snake? Finger? Fingersnakedog?

Sphinx – Here We Are (1981)

Suck on this, Powerslave!

We genuinely have no idea who this is…

Larpa? Earpx? Help us out, will you.

Or this…

Seriously, we give up.

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Barrie by-law demands 10-year-old's Canadian flag art be removed from city property – CTV News



Erin van Kessel says she was sitting outside her north-end Barrie home Thursday morning when a by-law officer handed her a warning. The Barrie resident was told she is to remove chalk-art of a Canadian flag drawn by her 10-year-old daughter in honour of Canada Day on Wednesday.

“2004-142-2,” says Van Kessel, while looking over the document citing her infraction. The City’s by-law for that particular code refers to use of public property.

“2. No person shall throw, drop, place, or otherwise deposit garbage, paper, paper or plastic products, cans, rubbish, or other debris on any City property, unless authorized by the City.”

Van Kessel said large green plastic objects which may have been children’s items left at the curb near the end of her driveway did not belong to her. The chalk art however has left her disappointed. Van Kessel was informed by the by-law officer someone had complained of the chalk spray-painted art on the lawn at the end of her driveway. The chunk of grass, painted red and white, is city property.

“They couldn’t really say why, I mean, mostly because it is on city property but really,” said Van Kessel in response to the by-law violation.

Van Kessel was informed she had 24-hours to remove her daughter’s chalk painting from the lawn or face a potential fine. Her daughter, Van Kessel says, is distraught and doesn’t understand why the chalk art needs to be removed.

“Not too happy,” said Van Kessel. “Because she did put a lot of work into it and now we have to remove it,” she said.“It’s a child doing something exciting when she’s been stuck in the house for four months; and no school, no friends, so what more is there to do!”

The City of Barrie confirmed a complaint was made and a by-law officer visited the home; providing the following statement to CTV News.

The city’s enforcement services received and responded to a complaint about individuals painting on city property. By-law officers are obligated to investigate and respond to all complaints received.

While the homeowner advised that the paint was washable, the officer was unable to confirm if it was or not, which was why the property owner was warned that they had 24 hours to remove it from the city’s boulevard. A warning was issued to the property owner, not the child.”

Van Kessel plans to have the art work removed by Friday morning.

“I guess other people don’t appreciate it or look at it the same way we do,” she said. “What can you do? I guess it’s the way of the world these days.”

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