Brittney Bear Hat & Richelle Bear Hat, Bear Hat archive (film still), 2014.
Brittney and Richelle Bear Hat
city street banners located on 20th Street West between Ave H S and Ave E S
August to November 2017
Curated by Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective
Horse Camp is a new commission by Brittney Bear Hat and Richelle Bear Hat exploring a narrative of survival, language, and family through concurrent banner installations in Edmonton and Saskatoon. In Edmonton, Horse Camp banners are installed in Emily Murphy Park in the River Valley, Canada’s largest urban park connecting a multitude of pathways. In Saskatoon, the banners line 20th Street in Riversdale, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city and a site of rapid gentrification and destabilization for residents.
Horse Camp is a location that the Bear Hat sisters often visited with their family during their childhood, a type of base camp where they would collect themselves before going deeper into the bush. Working from survivance and family connections, the banners recall the surroundings of the bush, shared stories, histories and traditions. Translated into banners, the interplay of text and image enriches the personal narrative and experiences of the artists while expanding the possibilities of interpretation for passers by. Together, the image and text mimic the process of storytelling; passing along knowledge, often piece by piece.
Building a fire, being with family, and learning in nature is a foundational and centuries old experience shared by diverse cultures. With Horse Camp, the Bear Hat sisters expand their practice of communicating a shared story from two perspectives, with this project the artists expose a significant personal moment illuminating how lessons and decisions are kept and shared. Stories connect us, just like the fire and family.
Brittney Bear Hat is a graduate from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2011, where she majored in painting with an interest in collage and drawing. Based in Calgary, her work focuses on identity and belonging. Half Blackfoot and half Cree, Bear Hat makes work about memory and how her personal history is what makes her Native. Her work involves the process of taking her own family photos or personal items and combining them with text, retelling stories and memories. With each piece, Bear Hat is trying to figure out what is hers and what she can call home. Bear Hat has exhibited her work at such venues as Latitude 53, Edmonton, Art Gallery of Alberta and Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Kelowna.
Richelle Bear Hat is a Calgary based Indigenous artist with both Blackfoot and Cree heritage. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing in 2011 and has since gone on to work with the Banff Centre as a Collections Work Study and is currently the Engagement Coordinator at TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary. Bear Hat’s artistic practice investigates ideas surrounding family relationships and the types of knowledge that are capable of being passed through them. Explored through the use of photography, transfers, video, and paper based works, her use of materials and means of production support transferences of memory and provide a platform for storytelling.
Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective is based in the region of Edmonton, Alberta. Ociciwan aims to support the work of Indigenous contemporary artists and designers, engage in both local and global contemporary critical dialogue, develop artistic collaboration, promote and encourage research, production, presentation and awareness of Indigenous contemporary art practices.