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Open Spaces: Windows to a View


This program offers local and regional artists an opportunity to showcase their art in a highly visible downtown location while working with a professional guest curator. The program, which began in 2009, celebrates the diversity and quality of works by regional artists, while enlivening the Centre Street LRT Platform on 7 Ave. between 1 St. and Centre St. SE.

Current exhibition

As part of its commitment to provide more opportunities to urban Indigenous artists, The City of Calgary Public Art Program is presenting a series of exhibitions focusing on the presentation of work by Indigenous artists and matters of contemporary significance.

The Revitalization is Real
Danni Black/Sui-Taa-Kii
Siksika Nation/Treaty 7
May 28 - August 27, 2018

Oki. “The Revitalization is Real” is a photo installation created by Danni Black, an Indigiqueer artist and matriarch in the making, who is unapologetically proud to be a Niitsitapi from Siksika Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy. This installation is inspired by her three-month Indigenous Artist research residency, offered through the City of Calgary. Her research was focused on Indigenous youth who live in urban settings but are reconnecting to culture through the introduction of language. Each portrait is of either an Indigenous, Metis, Inuit, or mixed youth, between ages 5-35, who are working in the community to keep their cultures alive. The hanging Butterflies are to represent change and revolution. In Blackfoot culture, the Butterfly is considered the most powerful being because they hold the ability to transform, which is what the youth have the power to do, both within themselves, and within the community. The red frames are to represent the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit. These frames are placed throughout the portraits as a reminder that they are never forgotten, and always missed. “The Revitalization is Real” is to offer the presence, confidence, beauty, power, and pride of the future ancestors to the streets of downtown Mohkintsis. “The revitalization is real, and we are the leaders of it.” It's a good day to be Indigenous. Iiksukapii.

Ekosi art pieceEkosi
Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal
December 22, 2017 – February 19, 2018
Curated by Jessie Short

Tamara’s site-specific installation Ekosi has been created based on her previous art pieces. Working within the Indigenous community, mostly with women and children, Tamara is concerned with issues of homeless, poverty, and well-being within the city. Her artwork brings a charge to a space where all peoples regardless of race, class, and stature may experience the work with their unique lens.

Various natural fibers and found objects have become layered together, suspended from the walls and ceilings in a web like structure. The circular collages that are made up of recycled teabags and images from the artist’s personal collection, leave out the faces and focus only on the event/action/place. Paired next to these photographs in a similar cut-out fashion, are portions of packaging from foodstuffs and personal hygiene products, as well as local community resource pamphlets among other paraphernalia.

Considering the local service agencies surrounding the site, Tamara compares the altruistic methodology as a driving force of these agencies with Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” in psychology. Originally borrowed from the Blackfoot way of being, Maslow’s theory gained initial recognition in the late 1940’s. The images and cut-outs relating to “essential needs” within Ekosi, are items and interactions regularly taken for granted in society where money is disposable.

As each circle represents a cardinal direction, a developmental stage of life, seven levels of intellect, and all together the setting of the Life Cycle (Sacred Circle) from a Cree perspective, Ekosi challenges the viewer to ask themselves, “What is enough?”. 

Ekosi art piece


(East window)
Osâm apisîs - “too little, less than enough”
Nahiyikohk - “just enough, just right”
(West window)
Tepipayiw - “there is enough, it is enough”
Otisâpatam - “S/he lives long enough to see it”

Materials: personal hygiene and foodstuffs packaging, community resource pamphlets and newspapers, artist’s paraphernalia, recycled tea bags, artificial sinew


About the artist

Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal, is a multimedia artist, community activist, oskâpêwis, and lifelong learner. Born and raised in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, she currently lives in Treaty 7 territory within Mohkínstsis (Calgary). Tamara traces her ancestral roots back to both Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 6, and the once German occupied lands of Ukraine. Having graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in sculpture, from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2015, Tamara has since been a recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Young Artists Award 2017, as well as the National BMO Art! Competition Award for her graduating work Back into the Earth: Creation and the Interpretation of Meaning, which speaks to her core interests in community, family history, and our human connection with Mother Earth. Tamara attended the 2016 Indigenous Visual + Digital Arts Residency in Banff, Alberta where she created Akohp: A Blanket most recently featured in the 2017 Alberta Biennial at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton. Tamara currently works within the urban Indigenous community as a Child Support Worker through Awo Taan Healing Lodge offering creative programming to families seeking shelter from domestic violence. Her artwork continues to be a reflection of the teachings she receives along her journey, inviting all people to become a part of the process.

About the curator and curatorial statement

Jessie Short is an independent curator, filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist whose work involves memory, Métis history and visual culture. Jessie attained an MA degree in 2011 from Brock University where her MA thesis explored contemporary Métis visual culture. Jessie served as the Executive Director for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (ACC), 2012 to Dec 2014 and prior to this worked in the Visual Art department of The Banff Centre between 2009¬‐2010. Jessie has directed two short films, Wake Up! (2015) and Sweet Night (2016), both of which have screen nationally and internationally. Jessie currently works as a programming coordinator for Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective. Read more.