“I was within the generation of ‘You look White. Just pretend that you’re White because it would be safer for you’.”
Audio by Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM
Her love of art was sparked by parents that were very creative, said Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal. She was born and raised in Lloydminster, Sask., with family from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and Estevan, Sask.
“They really supported my journey,” she told Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM.
After travelling to Germany for a year exchange after Grade 11, Cardinal started to realize that she wanted to become more involved in her Cree heritage.
“I was within the generation of ‘You look white. Just pretend that you’re white because it would be safer for you’.” Growing up her German side dominant was “encouraged,” she said.
In Germany, Cardinal’s house mother was influential. She was an art historian and all the knowledge and culture of European art surrounded Cardinal for that year.
“It just brought me to a new understanding of what could be and what couldn’t be studied in terms of art.”
So, back in Canada in her last years at Alberta College of Art and Design she started to focus more on Indigenous art.
“It was here back on Turtle Island that I started to really, truly find myself.”
Cardinal’s work is currently on display at dc3 Art Projects in Edmonton. She is one of four emerging artists in an exhibition called Arrivals, curated by Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective.
Her work reflects on the teachings Cardinal had received from Elders.
The exhibit runs to Aug. 4 at 10567 111 St.
Cardinal currently works in a women’s shelter, where she has learned that not everyone has enough, which is the name (in English) of her piece in Arrivals.