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Star Crop Eared Wolf wins reconciliation contest

Star Crop Eared Wolf placed first with her arrangement of pressed flowers and plants titled ‘The Matapi’ in the United Way’s third #YQL Expressions of Reconciliation Art and Media Contest.

Flowers and plants collected at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump provided inspiration and material for the winning entry in a United Way contest.

Star Crop Eared Wolf’s entry placed first in the third #YQL Expressions of Reconciliation Art and Media Contest.

Crop Eared Wolf said the inspiration for her piece came through her work at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump where she collected flowers and plants for education programs.

“These were all plants traditionally used by the Blackfoot,” Crop Eared Wolf said. “I collected them from the plains area and the mountains to put together the shape of the Blackfoot person — the Matapi.”  

Arranging the flowers and plants into the shape of a person represents the important relationship that Indigenous people have with the environment, both historically and today, and reinforces the idea that all humans are not separate from the land.

Crop Eared Wolf won both the $350 first place and $100 People’s Choice awards with her arrangement of pressed flowers and plants.

“It’s been a challenging year where a lot of events have been modified or cancelled,” said Connolly Tate-Mitchell, marketing and communications co-ordinator at United Way.

“But we’re very glad we were able to move forward with this one. It’s an opportunity to remind our community that we need to be thinking about reconciliation beyond . . . Reconciliation Week in September.”

The theme of the contest was “Indigenous Plants and Medicines” to coincide with the United Nations declaration of 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health.

Cash prizes were awarded to first, second and third place winners, and the People’s Choice winner.

The Southern Alberta Art Gallery also provided a one-year membership to each submitting artist.

Second place and $200  went to Chataya Holy Singer for the work titled “Blackfoot Paradigm” — a pen and ink design.

Holy Singer’s pen and ink design was also featured on Reconciliation Week T-shirts in September.

The artist said she’s happy to see her work on display as part of the contest as well. 

“There were people who didn’t get a shirt in September, so it’s nice that they can see it here,” Holy Singer said. “It’s great to be recognized as an emerging Blackfoot artist in the community.”

Third place and $150 went to Maura Hanrahan for the work titled “The Scent of Sage” — a creative, non-fiction written piece. 

Although COVID-19 restrictions prevented a gathering to celebrate the artists, all of the six submissions will be on display in The Gallery at CASA through December.