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Friday, December 3, 2021

Calgary Indigenous artist nominated for national photography award

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It’s the biggest award for which Alberta Indigenous visual artist Brittney Bear Hat has ever been nominated.

The 31-year-old Blackfoot and Cree woman was longlisted for the fourth annual New Generation Photography Award — an award established by the National Gallery of Canada for lens-based artists under 35 with a prize of $10,000 cash and a chance to be featured in exhibitions — on Feb. 18.

“It’s a huge honour just to be longlisted and to be thought of in this way because a lot of my practice isn’t really traditional photography,” she told Global News on Monday.

Bear Hat is one of two Alberta-based artists on the list of 24 nominees — the other being Lethbridge’s Angeline Simon.

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Bear Hat is based in Mohkinstsis, choosing to call Calgary its Blackfoot name to honour her ancestor’s land.

“That’s why I’ve kind of let go a little bit and stopped referring to Calgary as its colonial name. I just wanted to line up my own work with the way that I’m feeling towards how I think about space,” she said.

Sharing simple moments with familyInitially, Bear Hat didn’t like having her culture intertwined so tightly with her photography.

“As I kept kind of pushing through, trying to make work that resonated with me, I just realized that it was these stories, it was these moments that I share with my family in really simple ways, and my culture and my history have always kind of been there,” she said, recalling her dad teaching her and her siblings how to swim in the Bow River.

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