New Blackfoot art unveiled at Calgary's City Hall represents past, present and future

·2 min read
Kalum Teke Dan stands in front of one of the banners he created, hung at Calgary City Hall Thursday.  (Mike Symington/CBC - image credit)
Kalum Teke Dan stands in front of one of the banners he created, hung at Calgary City Hall Thursday. (Mike Symington/CBC - image credit)

Three large new banners of Indigenous art were installed at City Hall on Thursday.

The banners, which represent the past, present and future, were created by local Blackfoot artist Kalum Teke Dan, and are the first of more Indigenous works that the city will be commissioning.

"I'm very excited. It's been three years in the works on this project so it's finally happening, I'm really excited about it," Dan said. They were created in Dan's home studio, and he needed to get a custom easel to put the banners on.

"There's a lot of layers and coats … I like to work in a more two dimensional, three dimensional. So it takes a bit of time to develop that."

Kalum Teke Dan
Kalum Teke Dan

Dan's colourful banners are hard to miss. Each are nine metres long and 1.5 metres wide, depicting the artist's vision of Calgary and the Blackfoot people from the past, the present and youth representing the future.

"I want everybody to look at these and be proud, and to be proud of where they are. We're on Blackfoot territory and this is all what this represents. We're trying to show what we're about. We are very proud people."

Jessica McMann is the Indigenous curator with the city's public art program. She says more Indigenous artworks will be commissioned, and City Hall is an ideal place to start showcasing that art.

"The significance of this location is that this is a place of governance and also many newcomers come into this building as well," she said.

"It's really important that everyone witnesses Indigenous artwork within this place. As well, it's a step in reconciliation for everybody, people who work in the building, but also all Calgarians who come visit this space."

The banners will be in place for the next two years.

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