Focusing on the feminine

Catherine Blackburn poses by one of her beaded articles and the photo it was used as she worked with gallery staff to hang her latest show Monday. The show opens Friday. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Two Story Cafe looking at the urban through an Indigenous feminine perspective

This year’s Two Story Café is focusing on work by Indigenous women.

The annual contemporary Indigenous art showcase, put on by the Indigenous Peoples Artist Collective (IPAC), is set to open Thursday. In partnership with the Mann Art Gallery and its September Show, New Age Warriors by Catherine Blackburn, IPAC is looking forward to exploring contemporary art Prince Albert residents may not be as familiar with.

The theme this year is “Exploring the urban from an Indigenous Feminine Perspective,” said Terri-Lynn McDonald from IPAC.

“We wanted to tie into all that’s going on around us with some empowering women, two-spiritedness and missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Just listening to what’s going on in our community and surroundings. That’s how we always gauge our programming.”

Thursday night’s programming at the Arts Centre on Central Ave. is hosted by the Indigenous Poets Society.

“They’ve curated an evening of writers and poetry slams,” McDonald explained.

They’ve also got Lindsay Knight coming. Known by her performing name Eekwol, she’s a rapper and solo hip hop artist from Muskoday. Earlier this year she performed in Regina with the symphony orchestra as a part of a show put on by the MacKenzie Art Gallery.

Friday night is the Catherine Blackburn opening reception, presented in partnership with the Mann Art Gallery. IPAC is bringing in Anishinaabe musician Melody McKiver. There are also “surprise special guests” coming.

Saturday, the last night of the three-day festival, is back at the Arts Centre, and will be hosted by the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, featuring artists such as Tenille Campbell and Zoey Roy.

“It’s the biggest annual event we have,” McDonald said.

“We spend the year gauging what’s going on in the art community and the social community and we try to meld those together. We bring in artists who are doing similar work in their independent practices, and we find this event in this space in Prince Albert is a really good opportunity to ring established artists from across Canada her to collaborate with each other.”

McDonald said the event wouldn’t be possible without the support of the city and of the Mann Art Gallery, and that all three groups work together closely as they develop the program. McDonald said the Blackburn exhibition ties in nicely with what IPAC is trying to do.

“You can’t live in P.A. or in this region without having those close relationships with each other,” she said.

“We play off of each other because two is better than one. It reaches much further and the impact is greater.”

For people attending the event this week, McDonald said it will be a good opportunity to experience art forms that maybe aren’t on display as often in the city.

“It’s a really good event. Every year we have people who explore new avenues in their own artistic practice,” she said.

“P.A is open to this new, contemporary art because we’re not familiar with a lot of it. A lot of people aren’t. It’s new to everyone. It’s a good place for people to be introduced to new art practices, and a really good opportunity for collaboration and public engagement all around.”

Each show starts at 7 p.m. and is free of charge. More information is available on the IPAC Facebook page.