June 5 – July 7
Struts welcomes Open Studio Artist in Residence, Sarah Houle!
Sarah is an artist and performer from Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement in Northern Alberta. Her practice is collaborative and time-based, evolving from personal mythology, familial roots, and material exploration to encompass animation, installation, filmmaking, digital media, sound, costume, and community mentorship. Despite wide material interests, a clear aesthetic thread follows her practice. Sarah’s bold, pastel colours and floral motifs reference Metis beadwork. Recurring characters of the Shapeshifter, Bird Boy, and the The Little People haunt her projects, flickering in and out of focus across mediums. Currently making her home in Mohkinstsis/Calgary, Family is integral to Sarah’s process, both as subjects and collaborators. Her sons, nieces, and partner join in various works. She draws from ancestry and creates in community, never alone as she explores secret worlds, hiding in plain sight.
Sarah attended Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and graduated from Alberta University of the Arts in 2007. Her work has screened and exhibited across Canada, including ImagineNative Film Festival (Toronto), Asinabke Film Festival (Ottawa), AKA Artist Run Centre (Saskatoon), dc3 Art Projects / Ociciwan (Edmonton), Calgary International Film Festival, and Contemporary Calgary. In 2019, she was an Artist-in-Residence for Indigenous Placemaking at the Calgary Public Library, developing Flowers for My Ancestors, a project honouring the Metis story of her great-grandparents. She is a founding member of celebrated experimental rock band, Ghostkeeper, and has performed extensively for audiences ranging from Sled Island Music & Arts Festival to a live broadcast opening for Buffy Sainte-Marie on APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network). In 2020, Sarah Houle and her partner, Shane Ghostkeeper, established a collaborative project called Cîpayak ᒌᐸᕀ, designing multimedia/sound installations for festivals and exhibitions.
Mentorship and community engagement is an increasingly important part of Sarah’s practice – everything she does is in negotiation with community. Sarah Houle is keenly aware of her proximity to those around her – past, present, and future – and her work welcomes curiosity, sharing, stories, and conversation.
Sarah is traveling with her family. While at Struts, she'll be working on an animation. Save the date for a community meal and candle making workshop on June 30th.
photo credit: Caitlind Brown