October 4, 2019
Edmonton-based Métis artist Heather Shillinglaw’s installation retells her family’s oral history of her great-great-grandfather John “Old Man Jack” Norris, who, according to family stories, contracted Indigenous and Métis women to transport whiskey on Red River Carts, disguised as homesteading supplies. Shillinglaw’s beaded and quilted hide map of the Carlton Trail traces these journeys from Fort Garry to Fort Edmonton, entangled with the issuance of Métis scrip and the impacts of this smuggled alcohol.
Heather Shillinglaw is an Edmonton-based Métis artist whose practice focuses on storytelling, nature and the traditional use of plants and flowers. Shillinglaw holds a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary and her work has been shown across Alberta and internationally, including a recent solo show Buffalo Girl at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie featuring three distinct bodies of work. Shillinglaw has described herself as an ‘environmental activist’ and explores her Métis heritage inspired by stories from her grandparents and her mother, using beading, collage and installation.
This project is supported by funding from the Edmonton Arts Council, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Canada Council for the Arts.