Lisa Bird-Wilson, Saskatoon

Lisa Bird-Wilson is a Saskatchewan Métis and nêhiyaw writer whose work has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies across Canada. Her fiction book, Just Pretending (Coteau Books, 2013), was a finalist for the national Danuta Gleed Literary Awardand won four Saskatchewan Book Awards, including 2014 Book of the Year. Lisa’s debut poetry collection, The Red Files (Nightwood Editions, 2016), is inspired by family and archival sources. The Red Files reflects on the legacy of the residential school system: the fragmentation of families and histories, with blows that resonate through the generations. She has one non-fiction book to her credit, An Institute of Our Own: A History of the Gabriel Dumont Institute (Gabriel Dumont Publishing, 2011), which chronicles the struggle for Métis education rights in the 1970s and early 80s.

In the community, Lisa was a founding member and first president of the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Literacy Network and more recently, a founding board member of the Ânskohk Aboriginal Writers’ Circle, Inc., the organization that has played a major role in reviving the Ânskohk Aboriginal Literature Festival in Saskatchewan. In 2007, she was honoured with a Premier’s Award for leadership in literacy. In 2014, Lisa was awarded the Saskatoon YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Arts, Culture or Heritage.

Recently, Lisa has become a contributing columnist to Geist Magazine and learned she will be the featured author on Leg 11 (Kugluktuk to Tuktoyaktuk) of the Canada C3 Expedition as it travels the Northwest Passage. She lives in Saskatoon with her family of seven children, one spouse. She has worked at the Gabriel Dumont Institute since 1997.

 

Catherine Blackburn, Leask

Catherine Blackburn is a bead artist, painter and jeweller, whose artistic themes address Canada's colonial past, often prompted by personal narratives. Her work draws attention locally and nationally for its cultural sensitivity, accomplished technical skill and strong conceptual viewpoints.

Catherine was born in Île-à-la-Crosse of Dene and European ancestry, grew up in Choiceland and is a member of the English River First Nation. In her practice, she focuses on a disconnect between her Dene culture and her personal identity. Her work resonates with many who struggle with their feet in two spheres, as she encourages dialogue about Aboriginal culture, celebrates her background and opens discussion to the broader Aboriginal experience in Canada.

Catherine holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan. Her work has appeared in group and solo exhibitions amongst acclaimed artists such as Ruth Cuthand and Judy Anderson. Her pieces have also been included in notable shows at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto and SOFA in Chicago. Recently, Catherine was chosen to participate in the renowned 2017 Bonavista Biennale, as one of only 26 Canadian artists.

She has received numerous grants and awards for her work, including a Governor General’s History Awardand the highly recognized Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant, both in 2013, and the CARFAC Saskatchewan Emerging Artist Award in 2014.

Catherine’s pieces have been purchased into numerous private collections across Canada, as well as by public art collections at the Mann Art Gallery in Prince Albert and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

 

Jean-Sébastien Gauthier, Saskatoon

Jean-Sébastien Gauthier is a Fransaskois sculptor and new media artist who adopts diverse forms of inquiry and experimentation to create time-based artworks. His work involves an interdisciplinary mix of technical and conceptual approaches from contemporary and traditional sculpture, video production, performance art, 3D rendering and scientific imaging technologies.

Influenced by his grandfather, sculptor Bill Epp, Jean-Sébastien apprenticed in bronze foundries in Canada, France and the United States from an early age. He holds a BFA in sculpture from Concordia University and has been awarded grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Saskatchewan Arts Board. His sculptures, videos and performances have been exhibited in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Europe.

Jean-Sébastien views experimentation as key to his creative process. He actively seeks collaboration, embracing the unpredictability of outcomes and their unique results. This year, he served as the artist-in-residence at the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Saskatchewan and facilities of the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron. Jean-Sébastien is the first Canadian artist to be granted synchrotron beam time with artistic inquiry and aesthetic experimentation as a primary objective. The resulting immersive video installation, Dans la Mesure/Within Measure, used cutting-edge 3D synchrotron radiation imaging techniques to create interactive representations of embryonic zebrafish. The first of its kind, his ongoing art-science collaboration with developmental biologist Dr. Brian Eames sets new precedents for the media arts in Canada.

Jean-Sébastien’s work is contributing to redefining today’s contemporary art practices in research and technology and is building bridges across disciplines and people in this province.

 

Photo of Lisa Bird-Wilson: Julie Cortens

Photo of Catherine Blackburn: Tenille Campbell of Sweetmoon Photography

Photo of Jean-Sébastien Gauthier: Kenton Doupe