Catherine Blackburn: New Age Warriors and Recent Works

New Exhibition Brings High Fashion to Prince George

Catherine Blackburn, The Churchill Challenger, 2018. Plastic beads, plastic lace, nylon. Photo: Tenille Campbell.

Catherine Blackburn: New Age Warriors and Recent Works

April 28 – July 9, 2023
Two Rivers Gallery, Prince George

Two Rivers Gallery is thrilled to announce the exhibition Catherine Blackburn: New Age Warriors and Recent Works. Catherine Blackburn, a Terrace-based artist and designer, utilizes traditional Indigenous beading practices to create contemporary work that blends fine art and high fashion. Visitors will be able to view these artworks, which have graced runways in Toronto and been featured by Vogue, from April 28th to July 9th.

Blackburn’s work uses traditional methods of making to honour the strength, resilience, and ingenuity of her ancestors and the women in her life today. Throughout the exhibition, Blackburn pays homage to her grandmother’s artistic and cultural influence, creating beaded portraits in her likeness and drawing inspiration from her beaded designs. The first half of this solo exhibition highlights her New Age Warriors series, which features beaded warrior garments imagined for the Indigenous women of the future alongside large-scale photographs of these ensembles being worn. She swaps conventional beads for plastic Perler beads and blends familial designs with urban aesthetics like neon and graffiti. This choice of material reflects Indigenous women’s plasticity and adaptability throughout the endlessly changing demands of Canadian society. The second gallery plays host to Blackburn’s more recent body of work, Convergence, and features jewellery that draws from traditional methods and materials, like antlers and bear jaws, while catering to contemporary aesthetics with colourful text, gold chains, and graphic motifs. Finally, at the end of the exhibition space, viewers can immerse themselves in Blackburn’s video work, Unsettle, which gives form to a creature robed in pipeline imagery. This work embodies the unwillingness of Indigenous peoples to be dismissed or erased by colonisation. Each artwork in this exhibition features Blackburn’s meticulous, critically informed, and playful approach in its own unique way.

Catherine Blackburn was born in Île-à-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan, and currently resides in Terrace, BC. She is of Dene and European ancestry and is a member of the English River First Nation. Her work in beading, painting, and jewelry address Canada’s colonial past, prompted by personal narratives. Through the subject of family, she is inspired to express her own feelings and experiences that speak to the complexities of memory, history, and identity. She has received numerous grants and awards for her work, including a Governor General’s History Award, and will begin her Masters of Fine Art at Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto this fall.

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Prince George, BC, V2L 5T1

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