The Many Paths That Have Led Us Here: Stories of Resilience in the Arts

Sun March 8 - Sun May 31, 2020
The Many Paths That Have Led Us Here: Stories of Resilience in the Arts

Arts Commons Presents 
The +15 Galleries

The Many Paths That Have Led Us Here: Stories of Resilience in the Arts

Location: The +15 Galleries
Dates: March 8 -  TBD
Artist Reception: Postponed

An artist’s path is not always clear, nor predetermined. No two creative paths are alike, nor should they be compared. An artist’s creative journey is unique and as important as the artwork produced – with the journey almost always informing the creative process.

Core to this initiative is that every artist has a story and from the foundation of sharing these stories we can foster a community of support, inclusiveness, engagement and shared opportunities.

This is a community building initiative led by artists, Arts Commons and Calgary Arts Development, in response to hearing stories by artists who continue to create in the face of adversity, isolation and within societal margins. Join us for an evening of conversation with some of Alberta’s most resilient artists featuring the current visual arts exhibition in the +15 Galleries on Wednesday April 8th, 2020 in the Arts Learning Centre from 5:30pm – 8:30pm. RSVP Required, for more details or email

Hali Heavy Shield Nato’yi’kina’soyi (Holy Light that Shines Bright)

Inspired by her love of comic books and pop culture’s pin-up genre, Heavy Shield experiments with Blackfoot feminism in relation to women’s roles as providers, protectors, and leaders. Researching Indigenous women’s representations in settler photography, Heavy Shield reflects on her understanding of place, strength, agency, and voice in an effort to deconstruct notions of the ‘settler gaze’, using humour and dialogue as foundational elements of relationship and community building.

Nato’yi’kina’soyi (Holy Light that Shines Bright), Hali Heavy Shield is a multidisciplinary artist and member of the Blood Tribe of Southern Alberta. Heavy Shield is also a PhD student at the University of Lethbridge researching Blackfoot art and storytelling.

Oli Siska, Piitaaki/Eagle Woman

In my journey as an artist I have never stopped practising, however, I stopped being in the public eye. This has led to many questions. What makes an artist? Is it formal training or simply passion?

This exhibition brings important questions to the forefront of how we define artists throughout their life. The path is not always straight and narrow and includes life events that influence the work in a new direction. As we mature, so does our work.

Finding my voice as a mature artist has brought me to this point of re-emergence. As I continue to explore with different mediums, the story of creation has become clear. My identity as an artist has not changed over time but my work has. The spiritual elements dominate the latest work as I explore new territory.

Exploration of different mediums has led me to a diverse portfolio of work. From painting to photography, the subject matter has changed over time along with the mediums in which I have chosen to work in.

Miriam Fabijan

For personal reasons I chose many years ago to disengage from exhibiting my artwork publicly. This disengagement resulted in a break lasting over 20 years. It is only recently that I have found the courage to start exhibiting again. As part of my re-engagement I have been working on seeking a through-line between my earlier works and my current creative practice.

Re-visited: The “Cameo” series was created between 1985 and 1989. The central image in “Cameo” is a found enamel print, damaged before it came into my possession. The woman whose image it is, the circumstances surrounding its making, its perversion, and at whose hands are all unknown to me. These unknowns create a tension; they invest the image with a strange strength and a compelling beauty. By constructing and deconstructing aspects of this image and the marks that obscure it, a narrative of beauty and disruption emerged.

Recent: I am very intrigued by the actual act of making marks on an otherwise pristine surface, by the blurring between “drawing” as image and as object (illustration or illustrating).