Q

In Christi Belcourt's studio, art is a tool for activism

Renowned visual artist Christi Belcourt talked to q's Tom Power about her first-ever career retrospective, Uprising: The Power of Mother Earth, at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
Michif artist and activist Christi Belcourt in front of one her large scale but intricate 'beadwork' paintings. (Christi Belcourt/Facebook)

For 30 years, renowned visual artist Christi Belcourt has touched people with her art, from her collaborations with the Italian fashion house Valentino, to designing medals for the 2015 Pan American Games, and creating protest banners fighting for water protection.

Now, Belcourt is being celebrated with her first-ever career retrospective, Uprising: The Power of Mother Earth, at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection until Jan. 24, 2021.

She joined q's Tom Power to discuss her unconventional path to painting and beadwork, what it's like as a Michif (Metis) artist to be honoured by the institutions she critiques in her work, and why it's important to encourage kids to pursue their interest in the arts.    

"If your child shows any type of inkling toward the arts just buy them art supplies," said Belcourt. "Always remember that it is a valid career."

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      Produced by Vanessa Greco

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