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joane cardinal-schubertAboriginal artist recognized for “penetrating ideas”


By Matthew Fox

Multimedia artist and writer Joane Cardinal-Schubert, BFA’77, LLD’03, recently received a 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Award, but the recognition doesn’t signal that her best work is behind her, or that she has any intention of slowing down. “Artists,” she says, “do not retire.”

The multi-dimensional Calgary-based artist just returned from the Banff Centre where she designed the set, costumes and lighting for a national touring dance work entitled Pulse. She is also serving on an Aboriginal Cultural Collective conference panel in Saskatoon this month, and has been appointed the Royal Canadian Academy of Art’s Alberta membership representative for its June meeting in Winnipeg.

Cardinal-Schubert enjoyed a successful exhibition at Calgary’s Masters Gallery in March. Urban Warshirt-Metro Techno, a mixed-media work on paper, was a featured piece.

“Many years ago, I decided that we all wore warshirts—indicators in our dress of our personal powers that almost serve as fair warnings,” she says. “Historically, aboriginal people have been viewed with an ‘anthro/ethno gaze’ as dead people and I wanted to change that. This particular warshirt is dealing with a contemporary urban reality.”

warshirtThe National Aboriginal Achievement Award recognized Cardinal-Schubert’s “penetrating ideas on contemporary First Nations’ experiences and its denunciation of Euro-American religious and governmental systems.”

“I felt an incredible responsibility in accepting such a national honour,” she says.

Throughout her career, Cardinal-Schubert has held various roles within the university community. After completing her undergraduate degree, she was assistant curator at the U of C Art Gallery in 1978 and at The Nickle Arts Museum from 1979 to 1985. Cardinal-Schubert also served for several years on the U of C Senate and the Alumni Association board. In 2003, the university recognized her with an honorary degree for contributions to the visual arts in Canada and to her community.

Cardinal-Schubert’s art is featured in an exhibition at Banff’s Whyte Museum until October 8, in an international touring exhibition in Québec until April 2008, and in an online Glenbow Museum exhibit.

She says her body of work will keep on evolving. “I’m continuing with more urban works—such as the warshirt—and a series of ‘modern dancer’ paintings.” Proof this artist isn’t the shy, retiring type.