Indigenous Public Art Program
The Indigenous Public Art Program for the OPL-LAC Joint Facility will honour, support and showcase Indigenous art created by Indigenous artists from Canada. This program will integrate public art artwork by local, regional and national Indigenous artists (First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation) throughout the interior and exterior of the facility.
Indigenous art will be integrated into the facility to create a welcoming and inclusive space representing strong, traditional and contemporary Indigenous artists. Along with the project partners and the City of Ottawa’s Public Art department, Dawn Saunders Dahl, Curator of Indigenous Art for the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility, has developed five Indigenous Public Art Calls to Artists for Indigenous artists.
You can learn more about the Indigenous Public Art Program by checking out our feature story.
Dawn Saunders Dahl
Since 2008, Dawn Saunders Dahl has been actively working with Indigenous arts communities in Alberta through public art opportunities, art exhibitions, projects and events. After spending time researching her family records at the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Winnipeg Archives, and attending the final TRC in Edmonton, her administrative work shifted to better understand her ancestry, care for the land and share. These teachings from Elders and community members encourage and guide her work and perspectives. Dawn is of Métis (Red River) and European ancestry. She is honored to have been gifted the Stoney Nakoda name Âba Thâ Wîyâ, which translated means the Dawn.
Dawn is also a practicing artist, attended Red Deer College and has two BFA degrees in Painting and Ceramics from University of the Arts (formerly ACAD) in Calgary. Her studio work is a reflection of her personal history which strives to generate discussion and awareness around issues of community, identity and the land. Dawn’s deep interest in place, genealogy, and reconciliation/action with Indigenous communities reinforces her responsibility to understand her family histories and the land, and most importantly integrate opportunities to give back.
Dawn developed projects such as the Indigenous Artist Program at The Works Art & Design Festival (2009-13), Indigenous Art Park in Edmonton (2013-15) and National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrations in the Town of Canmore (2016-19). Dawn currently works at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies where she has been creating Indigenous-led positions and programs. She is also a board member at the Alberta Craft Council and a member of the Moh’kinsstis Public Art Guiding Circle for the City of Calgary, where she ensures that the voices of Indigenous artists’ are present.