I’m competing in team kata at a karate tournament this weekend, but I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Joane Cardinal-Schubert again tonight. She is celebrating 30 years as an artist and there is a beautiful exhibit at the Master’s Art Gallery downtown, featuring some amazing pieces. So, I organized my time so that I could enjoy the work and nibble on beautiful appetizers before scooting to the south again for my practice.
I first met Joane when my first-born was only a small child in 1982. I was a teacher at a school in the southeast and I was responsible for developing a program that would meet the needs of a whole number of children from various backgrounds…we had Cree, Blackfoot, Metis and Blood…kids who had integrated into a school system that sometimes didn’t work for them fully…and kids who generally had difficulties with english language arts/reading, writing and articulating.
I invited Joane to come out to our school as I noticed very quickly that my students had a general sense of the visual world and while very quiet, they seemed to relish time spent working with their hands no matter what the project. Writing experiences seemed to follow as a natural progression to real-life experiences OR visits to the Glenbow or walks at the bird sanctuary. I still have a beautiful drawing of Chief Crowfoot that Jordan Bearshirt drew for me in pencil. It is one of my treasures from that time.
Joane shared slides with us in a darkened classroom and I remember how excited the students were during her presentation, but also after. It was an amazing thing to see her large charcoal sketches of sweat lodges and strong dynamic lines of lodge poles. It was a true landmark in my experience as an arts educator to have her come that day.
Years later, I became an activist in opposition of the building of the Oldman River Dam, having received my degree from the University of Lethbridge. As a “Friend of the Oldman”, I worked volunteer hours raising funds for the legal battle that ensued. Somewhere in there, I learned that Joane had done the design for the adopted poster for the huge gathering of people at the Maycroft Crossing. Many years later, I brought my poster to one of her art openings and she gladly chatted and signed my poster. She has woven her life in and out of mine and I have followed her art, life and achievements with great regard and happiness.
I truly enjoyed visiting with her again tonight and seeing another woman who has influenced me and my figure drawing, Bev Tosh who is busy working on her work…The War Brides for an exhibit at our National War Museum. I love that my life has been so touched by strong and talented women!