Laura Grier, Artist – Edmonton

Laura Grier is a Deline First Nations artist and printmaker based out of Alberta. Through traditional print mediums, they instrumentalizes the power of the handmade to reflect political sociology, culture, environmentalism, and Indigeneity. Responding to lived experiences, Laura’s work is inspired by the dynamism of Indigenous art practices and using printmaking as resistance. They hold a BFA from NSCADU (Halifax) and most recently exhibited at DC3 Art Projects, SNAP Gallery, and ArtsPlace in Alberta. Laura has received grants and awards for their work, including an Indigenous project grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and was the 2018 RISE Emerging Artist recipient. They are currently pursuing their MFA at OCADU (Toronto) and has an exhibition titled People Walk Backwards / Dene K’et’a Ditla  at Harcourt House in Edmonton on display until December 1.

1. Native references in The Simpsons

Full disclosure. I am a long-time Simpsons academic and obsessive fan. I watch it mainly because of nostalgia and as a coping device. Sometimes I start from Episode 1 right through to the thirtieth season, which can take a while. As I watch this show, I have noted every single Indigenous reference within the series. As the perfect fan, I find it interesting, intelligent, ironic, perplexing, and usually very humorous. One of my favorite examples is Episode 12, Season 18, where Lisa must do a presentation on their heritage and decides to lie about having “Hitachi” (inspired by their microwave brand) Native American ancestry. The lie snowballs and Lisa must then be a keynote speaker of the “Hitachi tribe” at the National Native American Tribal Council. When Lisa finally admits the truth, a council member acknowledges the courage in telling the truth and states, “Who can blame her? We have a noble heritage, and cheekbones to die for.” This very episode encompasses a stream of appropriation, stereotyping, settler complacency and privilege, and maybe a hint of Indigeneity through humor.

2. Sahtúgot’ı̨nę: North Slavey language

Laura Grier, dene ts’į ʔáné‘, 2018, lithograph and screenprint

As a displaced Indigenous Deline, I have been spending a lot of time doing research on my Indigenous language. Having no North Slavey speakers to guide or teach me, I am left with having to find my own resources. As a result, I am missing a lot of information and left with many gaps. North Slavey is a very complex language that is intuitive and unique. I found a master’s thesis by Sally Rice who is an expert in linguistics and Dene Sųłiné. This writing has filled in a few questions on how words are structured and also supplied many words. As an artist I spend time with these words and use printmaking as a way of processing them through intense labour and contemplation.

3. Dylan Miner and radical printmaking

Dylan Miner

Much of my inspiration to continue along the path of being a printmaker is the influences of radical printmaking artists such as Dylan Miner. I am in love with the history of propaganda and socio-political printmaking. Printmaking can be accessible yet arduous and can serve as an instrument for indigenous radical ideas and thinking. I’ve been scrolling through Miner’s various readings and publications, and have come up with a long bibliography of readings I will be pursuing during my master’s degree. I’m particularity keen on getting my hands on Indigenous Aesthetics: Art, Activism, Autonomy.

4. Lo-Fi Hip Hop Radio 24/7

As a graduate student, I am frantically learning on how to write, read, write, read, make, read, read, and write some more. I’ve never been a strong writer, but I am surprising myself this term. I have also discovered the absolute necessities I need to do so much writing; one of which is Lo-Fi Hip Hop Radio 24/7. This is a life saver. It just goes on and on and on, creating the best background music for me to continue writing. Even while I write this, when I really should be writing a review. Anyways, thank you YouTube for having non-stop uninterrupted music for me while I work tirelessly into the night.

5. No Context Sailor Moon

This Facebook page probably doesn’t need any context. Maybe as a future scholarly art writer or critic, I’ll have some wonderfully written work on pop-culture including The Relational Dynamics and Fluidity of No Context Sailor Moon’s Pedantically Curated Facebook Page, or Proactive Paradigms of The Simpsons: Humor, Indigeneity, and Erroneousness.