Why the Caged Bird Sings: Immersive Engagements

Immersive experience at Dunlop Art Gallery celebrates Indigenous resilience

Inside Tipi Floor + Rocks, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Digital image, 2023 Photo courtesy of the artist

Why the Caged Bird Sings: Immersive Engagements
Cheryl L’Hirondelle

Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina Public Library (Central Library)
July 15 – September 6, 2023

Curated by Judy McNaughton and Tomas Jonsson
Co-presented with Common Weal Community Arts

Indigenous interdisciplinary artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle incorporates multi-sensorial experience and audience participation to create immersive environments towards ‘radical inclusion’. This exhibition of immersive, participatory work elaborates on the songs L’Hirondelle co-wrote with incarcerated and detained populations in Saskatchewan’s correctional facilities. L’Hirondelle’s work engages in acts of resistance and survivance; declaring the dynamic presence, and the full and multifaceted lives of her song co-writers.

Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Cree/Halfbreed; German/Polish) is a community engaged interdisciplinary artist and singer/songwriter with family ties to amiskwāciy-wāskahikan (Edmonton), Papaschase First Nation and Kikino Metis Settlement, AB. Her work investigates and articulates the dynamism of nēhiyawin (Cree worldview) in contemporary time-place. Cheryl is a recipient of the 2021 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Art and is currently completing an interdisciplinary practice-based PhD with SMARTlab/UCD, in Ireland.

Judy McNaughton is a visual artist and cultural animateur working with Common Weal Community Arts, in Prince Albert, Treaty Six territory. Throughout her career she has been socially motivated, which manifests in cultural activism and socially engaged projects. With a lifelong dedication to Saskatchewan cultural life, she often integrates national artists into locally relevant interdisciplinary settings, bringing mentorship and enrichment into our cultural ecosystem while highlighting the strengths and beauty that already exist.

Cheryl L’Hirondelle – Opening Reception

Artist Talk & Opening Reception, Why the Caged Bird Sings: Immersive Engagements
July 14, 7:00 PM CST
In-person, Dunlop Art Gallery (Central Library)
Online – Dunlop YouTube Live
Pre-registration not required.

Join us for the artist talk with Cheryl L’Hirondelle, in conversation with Judy McNaughton. Following the artist talk there will be a reception.

Performance: Why the Caged Bird Sings
August 13, 2 PM – 3 PM CST
Central Library’s Community Commons
Online – Dunlop YouTube Live
Pre-registration not required.

Join Saskatchewan Indigenous musicians, Berk Jodoin, Krystle Pederson and Cheryl L’Hirondelle, as they perform their own songs and specially arranged versions of songs from Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Why the Caged Bird Sings: Immersive Engagements is a solo exhibition by interdisciplinary artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle, exhibited at Dunlop Art Gallery until September 6, 2023, in partnership with Common Weal Community Arts. These works emerged from L’Hirondelle’s decades-long commitment to engaging in collaborative songwriting processes with incarcerated populations in Saskatchewan.

Since 2008, Cheryl has worked with Judy McNaughton and Common Weal Community Arts to deliver songwriting workshops. This inclusive creative process was designed to enable participants, who are at risk of having their voices, histories, and identities erased, to create their own songs and to engage in conscious reconsideration of their own self-worth.

“Having come from a large musical Metis family in Alberta, I start workshops talking to participants about how much music has been a lifesaver in my own life,” says Cheryl. “These workshops have become a way of sharing this survival tool with the many women, men, and youth I’ve had the honour to work with.”

Street Karaoke Sing-a-long
August 26, 8 PM – 11 PM CST
Regina Public Library, Central Library
Nuit Blanche Regina

A street karaoke event, 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm, led by award-winning Sask Music Indigenous singer/songwriter Berk Jodoin and singer/actor Krystle Pederson along with VJ Carrie Gates, in conjunction with Cheryl L’Hirondelle’s interdisciplinary project Why the Caged Bird Sings: Immersive Engagements exhibition at the Dunlop Art Gallery in partnership with Common Weal Community Arts.

Dunlop Art Gallery logo

About Dunlop Art Gallery at Regina Public Library

Gallery Hours (CST)
Mon to Thurs, 9:30 am – 9 pm
Fri, 9:30 am – 6 pm
Sat, 9:30 am – 5 pm
Sun, 12 pm – 5 pm

Central Library location
2311 – 12th Avenue
Regina SK S4P 3Z5

Sherwood Village location
6121 Rochdale Boulevard
Regina SK S4X 2R1

Admission is FREE to all exhibitions.
Galleries are wheelchair accessible.


We acknowledge the support of the SK Arts, and funding partners SaskCulture and Saskatchewan Lotteries, whose contributions help the arts thrive in this province.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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