Studio Bell to showcase Indigenous artists with new exhibit
David McLeod, curator of Speak Up!, says the exhibit will shine a spotlight on Indigenous artists.
Published Thursday, June 13, 2019 12:07PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 13, 2019 4:03PM MDT
Visitors to the National Music Centre in downtown Calgary will soon be able to learn more about the music of Canada's First Nations as a new, permanent exhibition will be launched on Friday.
The goal of Speak Up!, which opens on Friday, is to focus on the achievements of Indigenous artists who have, or are, making positive social impacts to motivate the future generations.
The exhibit features storytelling, audio with artifacts and video to help visitors learn about the personal inspirations of artists and their drive for social change as well as their feelings about music as a tool for speaking up.
Some of the artists in the exhibition include singer-songwriter and First Nations activist Willie Dunn, operatic vocalist and composer Jeremy Dutcher, trip-hop singer-songwriter iskwē, eight-time Grammy nominees Northern Cree, legendary filmmaker and genre-defying musician Alanis Obomsawin, Aboriginal poet, painter, broadcaster and filmmaker Dr. Duke Redbird, Anishinaabe singer-songwriter and emcee Leonard Sumner, Ottawa-based rock band Seventh Fire, Inuit throat singer and experimental artist Tanya Tagaq and groundbreaking Cree hip-hop group War Party.
Organizers of Speak Up! say the exhibition is a way to recognize the importance of the contributions of First Nations artists.
"Their deep connection to their music, their stories and their community speaks volumes to the Indigenous experience. The first 10 artists are from across the country and represent multiple genres, but their creative output to bring about understanding in the world is what truly connects them all. The timeline of the artists is from the late ‘60s to present day," said David McLeod, curator and member of the Pine Creek First Nation, in a release.
He hopes that all Canadians will connect with the display.
“There’s so much wisdom in our community that I think everybody needs to know more about it.”
Some of the artists say music is one of the only ways they have to truly express themselves.
"Music is the language I use to break my silence, and to connect with others who feel that fight bursting in their hearts," said iskwē in a release.
McLeod says there are plans to expand the exhibit to include more artists who have not been properly recognized for their work.
The opening of the exhibit will lead into Indigenous Music Week at Studio Bell, which runs from June 19 to 22. More details on the activities taking place at the facility can be found online.