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CHRISTI BELCOURT

CHRISTI BELCOURT

Aabaakawad Anishinaabewin (Reviving Everything Anishinaabe) 22″ x 28″, Acrylic on Canvas, 2015 | Image Source: www.christibelcourt.com

Christi Belcourt (b. 1966) is a Michif (Metis) visual artist and author whose ancestry originates from the Metis historic community of Manitou Sakhigan (Lac Ste. Anne) Alberta, Canada. Raised in Ontario, Christi is the first of three children born to political Indigenous rights leader Tony Belcourt and Judith Pierce Martin. Her brother Shane Belcourt is a respected filmmaker and her sister Suzanne is a graphic designer and emerging visual artist.

Christi is an artist with a deep respect for the traditions and knowledge of her people.” – Maria Campbell

Like generations of Indigenous artists before her, the majority of her work explores and celebrates the beauty of the natural world and traditional Indigenous world-views on spirituality and natural medicines while exploring nature’s symbolic properties. Following the tradition of Metis floral beadwork, Belcourt uses the subject matter as metaphors for human existence to relay a variety of meanings that include concerns for the environment, biodiversity, spirituality and Indigenous rights. Although known primarily as a painter, she has for years been also practicing traditional arts. Working with beads, hides, clay, copper, wool trade cloth and other materials. Most recently with birch bark and harvesting plant fibres and ochre.

Christi BelcourtNamed the 2014 Aboriginal Arts Laureate by the Ontario Arts Council and shortlisted for the 2014 & 2015 Premiere’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, her work can be found within the public collections of the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Gabriel Dumont Institute (Saskatoon), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Indian and Inuit Art Collection (Hull), the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Ottawa/Hull) and at Centre Block on Parliament Hill. She also won the “Influential Women of Northern Ontario” award for her community work this past summer. And her artwork was voted #1 “People’s Choice” at the Art Gallery of Ontario in June of 2015.

In 2011, her work titled Giniigaaniimenaning (Looking Forward), was created to commemorate the resilience and strength of Residential School Survivors and their descendants. It was selected and installed as stained glass for permanent exhibit above the main entrance for Members of Parliament, in Centre Block, Parliament Hill (Ottawa). She also designed the PanAm / ParaPan Medals for the Toronto 2015 Games. And most recently she has been in the news for her collaboration with Italian fashion designer The House of Valentino.

In 2012 she began the Walking With Our Sisters project to honour the lives of murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada and the United States. It has grown to an astounding international seven-year touring memorial involving over 1500 artists and thousands of volunteers. The impact this community-based work is having cannot be overstated. It is a seven-year touring project which will continue until 2019. Over 30,000 people have visited it in 13 communities so far.

Christi also previously co-created and co-lead the Willisville Mountain Project a juried exhibit which involved 40 artists who used art to draw attention to the Willisville Mountain that was slated for quarry. The Project and subsequent political and media pressure it applied, helped to secure a decision by Vale Corp. who agreed not to mine the mountain for quartz.

Christi Belcourt
Christi Belcourt

Her work has been the focus of two short independent documentary films: So Much Depends Upon Who Holds The Shovel (Directed by Wayne Peltier, screened at the Imaginative Film Festival in 2008) and A Life in Balance (Directed by Kathy Browning, screened at the Weengushk Film Festival 2012). Her work is also the subject of many classroom studies from primary school to University programs.

She is author of three books: Medicines To Help Us (2008), Beadwork (2011), and co-author of Jeremy and the Magic Ball (2008), Her work has been reproduced within numerous publications and on the covers of many books.

Christi is currently one of three artists within the Onaman Collective along side Erin Konsmo and Isaac Murdoch. All three artists are dedicating their work and lives for social change and justice for Indigenous Peoples.

Video Interview:

Rebeka Tabobondung interviews Christi Belcourt for MUSKRAT Magazine about the Walking with our Sisters exhibition/memorial hosted by G’zaagin Art Gallery at the Parry Sound Museum. The exhibition ran from January 10 to 26, 2014.

Artist Gallery:

Honouring My Spirit Helpers by Christi Belcourt
Honouring My Spirit Helpers, Acrylic on Canvas, approx. 8ft x 12ft, Collection of the Seventh Generation Midwives (Toronto)
Wisdom of the Universe by Christi Belcourt
Wisdom of the Universe Acrylic on Canvas, 171cm x 282cm, 2014 Collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario
Offerings and Prayers for Genebek Ziibiing by Christi Belcourt
Offerings and Prayers for Genebek Ziibiing, 36″ x 48″, Acrylic on Canvas, 2014
Christi Belcourt's Beadwork Style
Christi Belcourt’s Beadwork Style

Christi Belcourt’s Website:
www.christibelcourt.com

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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