By LETHBRIDGE HERALD on December 15, 2020.
The winners have been announced in the third annual #YQL Expressions of Reconciliation Art and Media Contest.
“It’s been a challenging year where a lot of events have been modified or cancelled,” Connolly Tate-Mitchell, marketing and communications co-ordinator at United Way, said in a news release. “But we’re very glad we were able to move forward with this one. It’s an opportunity to remind our community that we need to be thinking about reconciliation beyond the City of Lethbridge’s Reconciliation Week in September.”
The theme of the contest was Indigenous Plants & Medicines to coincide with the United Nations declaration of 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. Cash prizes were awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners, and a “People’s Choice” prize was awarded based on the results of a social media vote on Facebook. The Southern Alberta Art Gallery also provided a one-year membership to each submitting artist.
First place and People’s Choice ($350 and $100 sponsored by Reconciliation Lethbridge and United Way) – Star Crop Eared Wolf for the work titled “Matapi” – an arrangement of pressed flowers and plants.
Second place ($200 sponsored by United Way) – Chataya Holy Singer for the work titled “Blackfoot Paradigm” – a pen and ink design.
Third place ($150 sponsored by the Lethbridge Indigenous Sharing Network) – Maura Hanrahan for the work titled “The Scent of Sage” – a creative, non-fiction written piece.
Contest winner Star Crop Eared Wolf said the inspiration for her piece came through her work at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, where she had been collecting flowers and plants for education programs.
“These were all plants traditionally used by the Blackfoot,” she said. “I collected them from the plains area and the mountains to put together the shape of the Blackfoot person – the Matapi.”
Arranging the flowers and plants into the shape of a person represents the important relationship that Indigenous people have with the environment, both historically and today, and reinforces the idea that all humans are not separate from the land.
Second-place winner Chataya Holy Singer’s pen and ink design was also featured on Reconciliation Week T-Shirts in September. The artist said she’s happy to see her work on display as part of the contest as well.
“There were people who didn’t get a shirt in September, so it’s nice that they can see it here,” she explained. “It’s great to be recognized as an emerging Blackfoot artist in the community.”
Although COVID-19 restrictions prevented a gathering to celebrate the artists, all of the six submissions will be on display in The Gallery at Casa through December.