6 Indigenous artists to create installations for Calgary's new central library

A life-sized buffalo sculpture made of words in Indigenous languages, and an enormous colourful wall mural are among the installations being created by six Indigenous artists for the new Calgary Central Library.

Artwork will be installed in advance of library's Nov. 1 opening

The new Calgary Central Library is nearing completion. It's set to open in November. (CBC)

A life-sized buffalo sculpture made of words in Indigenous languages, and an enormous colourful wall mural are among the installations being created by six Indigenous artists for the new Calgary Central Library.

The permanent installations are part of a $500,000 project devoted to bringing Indigenous art to the new building when it opens in November. The fund will also support an artist in residence and display space for temporary exhibits.

The artists and their installations are:

  • The colourful mural in the library's main entrance, by Keegan Starlight, Kalum Teke Dan and Roland Rollinmud.
  • The buffalo sculpture, which will be located on the feature stairs leading to the mezzanine level, by Lionel Peyachew.
  • A table and furniture, and photo and text-based work, that will be part of the Elders' Guidance Circle on the library's fourth floor, by Glenna Cardinal and Brittney Bear Hat. The circle will be a space where people can meet with elders and join in Indigenous programming.

Shereen Samuels, vice-chair of the Calgary Public Library Board, said in an emailed release the installations are intended to create an environment where Indigenous people can feel their culture reflected and all visitors can learn about the original inhabitants of the land that's now Calgary.

"Calgary Public Library knows that a public library is about more than just providing access to books; it's about creating public gathering spaces where people can connect with one another and share ideas, knowledge, stories and culture," Samuels said.

All six artists are either from, or have a connection to, Treaty 7 territory. The library said they were chosen to encompass a range of disciplines, backgrounds and stages of their careers.

"For myself, this project brings me a step closer to uncovering my family's heritage and understanding of our history through storytelling. I am creating a project that is about reminiscing and focusing on the care that reveals itself in the moments that are shared between family members," said Brittney Bear Hat in the release.

Work is underway on the pieces, which will be installed this fall.