Artist Lauren Crazybull on how portraiture can give a 'presence and power' to the sitter

Painter Lauren Crazybull, who is up for the Kingston Prize, joins q's Tom Power to talk about her journey of personal rediscovery, which took her from a small town Alberta foster home to the province's first-ever artist in residence.
Edmonton painter Lauren Crazybull is Alberta's first artist in residence and a finalist for this year's Kingston Prize. (Photo: Conor McNally/Courtesy of the artist)

When it comes to high art, a lot of people may find that their own culture is underrepresented, or worse, completely erased. Lauren Crazybull is responding to that feeling in an incredibly creative and powerful way.

Crazybull is Alberta's first artist in residence. The 24-year-old painter grew up in foster care in small-town Alberta where she was removed from Indigenous history and the story of her own family. When she started looking at depictions of Indigenous people, she didn't feel like any of them represented her — so she started creating her own.

Crazybull creates large, vibrant portraits of Indigenous people to help reverse what she calls the colonial gaze. She's now a finalist for this year's Kingston Prize, a biennial Canada-wide portrait competition for contemporary artists.

She joined q's Tom Power from Edmonton to tell us more about her work and her journey of personal rediscovery. 

Download our podcast or click 'Listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation with Lauren Crazybull.

— Produced by Beza Seife and Matt Amha

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