REDx Talks, a branch of iiniistsi Treaty Arts Society, and d.talks co-presented an evening with the renowned Canadian architect, Douglas Cardinal.
The event was held at Contemporary Calgary’s new location, the Centennial Planetarium. The design of the Planetarium, a Brutalist building, was selected from 18 entries submitted by Calgary architects. A concept drawing by winning firm McMillan Long & Assoc. features a hexagon-fitted circular roof. Our talk with Douglas Cardinal was under this dome.
We featured this wonderful video about Calgary’s Treaty 7 territory produced by Cowboy Smithx and supported by the Calgary Foundation to open the evening.
Douglas Cardinal is an architect, planner, activist, philosopher, artist and Anishinaabe Elder. Born in 1934 in Calgary, his organic style of architecture is a result of a keen awareness and connection to nature. His buildings and planned communities have been recognized as early leaders in sustainability and ecological design. Many of his early buildings are located in Alberta: in Grand Prairie, St. Albert, Edmonton, Ponoka, Red Deer and Stony Plain. In the late 1970s his office was an early-adopter of computer aided design technology, resulting in curvilinear lines and free-form shapes.
Douglas Cardinal was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990, and he was declared a World Master of Contemporary Architecture by the International Association of Architects. In 1998, his master plan for the James Bay Cree in Quebec was recognized by UNESCO for best sustainable village. In 2018, Douglas Cardinal was a co-curator for UNCEDED at the Canadian Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale.
With a combined program that celebrates Douglas Cardinal's Indigenous ancestry, Mr. Cardinal's keynote presentation was followed by a REDx Intertribal by local aboriginal chef Shane Chartrand; and to close the evening, a discussion in the round, an oral tradition.
Chef Shane is part of a new documentary series exploring modern Indigenous cuisine called Red Chef Revival. His first cookbook launches this fall titled, Tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine (Tawâw is Cree for “Welcome, there is room”).
Continuing the Conversation
The speaker’s gift was the title: It’s All Happening So Fast: A Counter-History of the Modern Canadian Environment edited by Lev Bratishenko and Mirko Zardini (CCA). You can find it on the d.talks recommends shelf at Shelf Life Books.
The exhibition Douglas Cardinal curated, UNCEDED: Voices of the Land, is on view at the Canadian Museum of History through March 2020. You can read a FOLD review of the exhibition written by Justin Loucks here.
You can hear Douglas Cardinal speak about his world view here. His planning is exhibited at the Art Gallery of Alberta through August.
You can view Brutal Visions at Contemporary Calgary through September 1st.
This evening was made possible with the support of the Calgary Foundation, Contemporary Calgary, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the University of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Architects, and Blackwater Creative. This event was a co-production between REDx Talks, the iiniistsi Treaty Arts Society, and d.talks.