Christi Belcourt as an Artist in Residence at the McMichael Art Gallery, Kleinburg, ON, 2004
|Parent(s)||Tony Belcourt, Judith Pierce-Martin|
|Relatives||Shane Belcourt, Suzanne Belcourt|
Christi Marlene Belcourt (born September 24, 1966) is a Métis visual artist and author living and working in Canada. She is best known for her acrylic paintings which depict floral patterns inspired by Métis and First Nations historical beadwork art. Belcourt is recognized within the Métis community as one of the preeminent Métis artists in Canada. Belcourt's work often focuses on questions around identity, culture, place and divisions within communities.
Born in Scarborough, Ontario, Christi Belcourt is the daughter of national Métis rights activist Tony Belcourt and Judith Pierce-Martin (née Streatch). Her family's roots are connected to Manitou Saskhigan (also known as Lac Ste. Anne), Alberta. Her brother Shane Belcourt is a writer, director, musician and cinematographer known for his feature film Tkaronto, which depicts the life of urban Métis and First Nations people. Her sister Suzanne Belcourt is a graphic designer and artist living and working in southern Ontario. In 1970, her father was elected as the founding President of the Native Council of Canada (now known as the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples) and the family relocated permanently to Ottawa, Ontario from Edmonton, Alberta.
As a Métis visual artist with a deep respect for the traditions and knowledge of her people, the majority of her work explores and celebrates the beauty of the natural world. She is the author of three books: Medicines To Help Us (study prints & book, based on painting of same title; Saskatoon: Gabriel Dumont Institute, 2007), Jeremy and the Magic Ball (the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres) and Beadwork (Ningwakwe Learning Press).
Her artistic work has been commissioned by the Gabriel Dumont Institute (Saskatoon, 2004), the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Centre for Traditional Knowledge & Museum of Nature (Ottawa, 2002), and is found in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and the Canadian Museum of Civilization, First People’s Hall. Belcourt is a past recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Métis Nation of Ontario.
Community Activism Projects
Belcourt is the project creator and lead coordinator of the Walking With Our Sisters, a crowd-sourced commemorative art installation for the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada and the United States. Started in 2012 this project has toured throughout communities in North American and continues to be driven by community volunteers.
In 2014 Belcourt founded the community based The Onaman Collective with Isaac Murdoch and Erin Konsmo. This project aims to preserve traditional knowledge, language, and teachings. In recent years Belcourt has become a vocal advocate for the need for a Métis land base and the power of Indigenous language restoration. The Onaman Collective has also worked to connect traditional knowledge keepers and elders with Indigenous youth. The Collective has also engaged in advocacy around water protection and raising awareness of the need to protect the Great Lakes and other bodies of water.
In the same year Belcourt was also involved in promoting the "blue dot" movement as a way of visually protesting government decisions around the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. The blue dots added to photographs in this movement were used as a way of identifying the marginalized people left out of the conversations by the Canadian Government.
As a form of activism in 2016 Belcourt requested the Métis Nation of Ontario remove her name and the name of her daughter from the organization's registry. Belcourt's request was in part based on her disagreement with the organization's decision to sign deals with mining companies such as Energy East and Nuclear Waste Management Organization.
Beginning in 2017 Belcourt was involved in the establishment 150 Acts of Resistance project. This initiative was designed to counter the Canadian government narrative around the "Canada 150" sesquicentennial celebration and to promote a discussion of the realities of colonialism and Indigenous resistance in Canada.
- Mapping Routes: Perspectives of Land and Water in Ontario, Thunder Bay Art Gallery (2010)
- Identity, Land & Spirit, Red Shift Gallery (2009)
- Off The Map, ArtSpace Gallery (2008)
- Off The Map & Great Metis of My Time, Urban Shaman Gallery (2008)
- Great Metis of My Time, Batoche National Historic Site (2008)
- New Works By Christi Belcourt, Metis Nation of Ontario Annual General Assembly (2005)
- Lessons from the Earth, Thunder Bay Art Gallery (2003/2004)
- Urban Myths: Aboriginal Artists in the City, Karsh-Masson Gallery (2000)
- Material Girls, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan (2015)
- Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes, National Museum of The American Institute (2014)
- Sakahan, National Gallery of Canada (2013)
- Faraway Nearby, Art Gallery of Algoma (2012)
- Ancestral Teachings: Contemporary Perspectives Thunderbird Art Centre (2011)
- Contrary Projects in Venice: an Aboriginal Art Intervention at the Venice Biennale (2011)
- Resilience / Resistance: Metis Art, 1880-2011, Batoche National Historical Site (2011)
- Good Medicine, Craft Council of Saskatchewan and the Gabriel Dumont Institute (2011)
- Mantuc, Little Spirits: The Language of Glass Beads, North America Native Museum in Zurich, Switzerland (2010)
- Creation, Land, Treaty: From Sacred to Profane, Ojibway Cultural Foundation (2009)
- Willisville Mountain Project (touring exhibit, 2009)
- Vanishing Seams, Indian and Inuit Art Centre (2008)
- Reflets, Reflections sur L’Eau, Maison de la Nature et l’EnvironnementAix en Provence, France (2008)
- A Tribute to Norval Morrisseau and the Woodland Artists, Red Lake Heritage Centre (2008)
- West Side Stories: The Metis of Northwestern Saskatchewan, Diefenbaker Canada Centre at University of Saskatchewan (2007)
- Native American Fine Arts Show, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (2005)
- Manitoulin Artists, 4elements Gallery (2004)
- LaCloche Art Show, Whitefish Falls (2004)
- Métis in the 21st Century, Forest Farm Hall (2003)
- Making the Spirit Visible, New York State University (2001)
- Christi Belcourt Permanent Collection Room, Gabriel Dumont Institute (2013)
- Giniigaaniimenaaning, stained glass window to recognize the survivors of Indian Residential Schools, installed in the Centre Block, Parliament of Canada (2012)
Other Artistic Works
- Belcourt designed the competition medals for 2015 Pan American Games.
- In 2015 Belcourt's drawing "Water Song" was used as print inspiration for a line of clothing by Valentino.
- Medicines to Help Us Traditional Metis Plant Use (2008), ISBN 978-0-920915-79-0
- Beadwork: First Peoples' Beading History and Techniques, ISBN 978-1-897541-25-8
- Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices (2014), contributor, ISBN 9781554516865
- iLit Strength and Struggle: Perspectives from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada (2011), contributor, ISBN 978-0071067034
- Ontario Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts, Individual Artist Award (2016)
- Governor General's Innovation Award (2016)
- Art Gallery of Ontario People's Choice Award for "The Wisdom of the Universe" acrylic painting (2015)
- Aboriginal Arts Award 2014 Laureate, Ontario Arts Council (2014)
- Influential Women of Northern Ontario, Aboriginal Leadership Award (2014)
- Chalmers Family Fund, Ontario Arts Council (2010)
- Aboriginal Arts Projects Grant and Aboriginal Traditional Arts Program, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council (2009)
- Northern Arts Grant Recipient, Ontario Arts Council,(2007)
- Aboriginal People’s Collaborative Exchange Program, Canada Council For The Arts, 2007)
- Judges Choice Award, Works on Paper Exhibit, Espanola, Ontario (2006)
- Mid-Career Artist Grant Recipient, Ontario Arts Council (2004)
- Aboriginal Arts Projects Grant Recipient, Ontario Arts Council (2004)
- First place, Mixed Media, LaCloche Art Show, Whitefish Falls, Ontario (2004)
- Emerging Artist Grant, Ontario Arts Council and Canadian Council for the Arts (2000, 1999)
- Metis Cultural Grant Recipient, Metis Nation of Ontario (1998)
- Mattes, Catherine. "Metis Perspectives in Contemporary Art." Metis Legacy Ed. Barkwell, Lawrence J., Leah Dorion, Darren R. Prefontaine. Winnipeg, MB: Pemmican Publications, 2001.
- Green, Joyce. Making Space for Indigenous Feminism. Winnipeg, MB: Ferwoond Publishing, 2007.
- "Christi Belcourt turned an act of discrimination into a work of art". CBC Radio. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
- "Christi Belcourt turned an act of discrimination into a work of art". CBC Radio. June 19, 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- "Christi Belcourt: Reclaiming ourselves one name at a time". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Porter, Jody (October 10, 2014). "Walking With Our Sisters installation 'more than beautiful artwork'". CBC News, Thunder Bay. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- McMahon, Ryan (September 7, 2015). "Red Man Laughing (S.5) - The Onaman Collective Interview". Red Man Laughting. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- "Teaching tradition: Bringing youth and elders together to learn from each other". CBC Radio. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Brown, Lynne. "The Great Lakes Gathering. For the Water. Ojibway Park. | SaultOnline.com". saultonline.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Sterritt, Angela (February 12, 2014). "Blue dots becoming symbol for First Nations Education Act resistance". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- "Prominent Métis artist wants name removed from Métis Nation registry". Up North. CBC News. November 4, 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Sandals, Leah (January 17, 2017). "Artists and Allies Resist #Canada150 Push on Social Media". Canadian Art. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- "CV". Christi Belcourt. 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- "Stained Glass Window in Parliament Commemorating the Legacy of Indian Residential Schools". Indigenous And Northern Affairs Canada. December 12, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- "The Medals Story: Pan Am and Parapan Am competition medals". 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- Everett-Green, Robert (August 4, 2015). "Métis artist Christi Belcourt inspires Valentino fashion line". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- Hunnie, C (2007–2008). "Christi Belcourt Expression of Nature". Aboriginal Boreal Conservation Leaders. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
- Alex, Cathy (October 9, 2016). "Northern Ontario Indigenous artists recognized with Premier's awards for excellence". CBC News. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- "Christi Belcourt receives Governor General Award for Innovation". CBC News. May 19, 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Hosein, Lise (July 20, 2015). "Medals artist Christi Belcourt owns the Pan Am podium | CBC Arts". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2017-04-03.