Calgary Stampede unveils 2021 poster that evokes optimism after a storm

·2 min read

The Calgary Stampede has unveiled a poster for next year's event that it says is meant to convey resilience, optimism and the passing of the storm.

The 2021 edition of the annual poster was created by 22-year-old Calgary artist, Lexi Hilderman, who won the Stampede's Youth Poster Competition.

This year's Stampede was called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first time Calgary's signature event has been cancelled since 1923.

Hilderman's artwork features a young Indigenous dancer with rainbow ribbons flowing from her regalia.

It was inspired by the image of a young woman named Katari Righthand from the Siksika First Nation east of Calgary.

"I was drawn to her story and it became important for me to learn about her culture and to understand how she feels when she's dancing," said Hilderman.

Calgary Stampede
Calgary Stampede

Hilderman learned that Righthand was given the name Nààpiwa otó piim Akikowan (Rainbow Girl) in 2013 in the wake of the southern Alberta floods, representing hope after a storm.

"I wanted to show her standing strong, looking forward with determination," Hilderman said.

"To me this image is about optimism, and also a representation of youth carrying on their legacy and the legacy of the Calgary Stampede's celebration of the arts, culture and community."

The Calgary Stampede Youth Poster Competition, funded by the Brandon Flock Foundation, provides the winning artist with a $10,000 scholarship — one of the largest in Canada — and her artwork will be distributed around the world in Stampede marketing.

"We're very excited to take this first step in sharing the poster," said Steve McDonough, first vice-chairman of the Calgary Stampede board of directors.

"While we don't have all the details about Stampede 2021 at this time, what we can tell you is that we are here for our community when they are ready to ride again. And when we can once again gather together to celebrate, it will be that much more meaningful."