ArtistBrittney Namaakki Bear Hat and Richelle Bear Hat
All are Welcome to the Opening Reception on January 27th at 7 pm.
Nanaimo Art Gallery is pleased to present Story Keeping, an exhibition of new and existing work by Calgary based artists Brittney Namaakki Bear Hat and Richelle Bear Hat. Drawing from their shared Blackfoot and Dane-zaa Cree heritage, the artists look to storytelling practices and legacies of land and language displacement through their experiences growing up in rural and urban environments. While Story Keeping will include the 2016 collaborative work: Little Cree Women (Sisters, Secrets & Stories), it will also highlight Brittney and Richelle’s individual practices and perspectives. Through photography, video, sculpture, and installation, this exhibition celebrates the value of stories carried through everyday lives.
Story Keeping is the fourth exhibition through which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question, What stories do we tell?
Brittney Namaakii Bear Hat is a Mohkinstsis/Calgary-based artist, whose Blackfoot and Cree/Dane-zaa ancestors have lived on the lands that are now part of Treaty 7 and 8, for many millennia. Her work explores this cultural lineage through installation, photography, text and collage. Brittney graduated from the Alberta University of the Arts in 2011, where she majored in painting. Her work explores identity and story-telling, wanting to contribute to the rich stories of her home territories. Within her work, Brittney is unfolding that which ties her to these unique landscapes.
Brittney’s most recent work Hello My Girl was a part of Big Rock River: Contemporary Indigenous Art in an Ancient Land (2022) exhibition at The Okotoks Art Gallery. Other recent exhibitions include Related (2022) at Libby Leshgold Gallery, Vancouver; Visions of the Hunt (2018), at The Esplanade, Medicine Hat; níchiwamiskwém | nimidet | ma soeur | my
sister, Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA), Art Mûr, Montréal and I Believe in Living (2018), Untitled Arts Society, Calgary. Brittney has also been awarded the Joane Cardinal Schubert Memorial Scholarship in 2011 and the Sonia de Grandmaison Scholarship in 2013.
Richelle Bear Hat is a Calgary based Blackfoot/Dane-zaa Cree artist. The Bow River and Blueberry River have provided for her two families and have shaped how she connects with the land, her family and community. Understanding these relationships and experiences of shared memory is at the core of her artistic practice. Richelle is interested in the many ways knowledge can be exchanged within family mentorships and in return translated and honoured. Video, text, sound and paper-based works are the materials and means of production she uses as a platform for storytelling.
Richelle graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing in 2011. She has since gone on to work with the Banff Centre as a Collections Practicum (formally work study) with the Walter Phillips Gallery, TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary as Engagement Coordinator, and is currently Coordinator of Indigenous Programs at the National accessArts Centre.