School Art 2021

Full of colour, energy and talent, let this exhibition lift your spirits after the cold dark winter. Our display that showcases the creativity and skill of Medicine Hat and region’s students, from Kindergarten to Grade 12 has been a Esplanade tradition for the last 43 years. This annual exhibition has grown from 50 works in 1978 to over 600 from 41 schools today. Paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures, ceramics, photographs, animated and live action video fill the gallery and will awe, amaze and inspire you. This year due to pandemic restrictions we asked each school to judge and select works for the exhibition, so a huge thank you to all volunteers, sponsors, participating students, school staff and teachers, award donors and others, for their continued support of this program and the promotion of visual arts in our community.

Topping it Off

December 10, 2020−February 27, 2021

Topping it Off Hats keep us warm, help us stay cool, and protect us. They keep the sun out of our eyes. Hats express our sense of style, and they help show who we are and what we do.

In this city named Medicine Hat, the Esplanade has over two hundred hats in its artefact collection. These range from a 19th century Siksika headdress up to a Maverick’s baseball cap. Plain or ornate, practical or not—every hat has a job to do. Explore the history and traditions of hats in Topping it Off.

The Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre acknowledges the financial support of the Alberta Museum Association


December 10, 2020−February 27, 2021

Kamotaan is an installation of new works by artist Faye HeavyShield. A member of the Kainai Nation and fluent speaker of the Blackfoot language, HeavyShield has created an installation of sculptural, photo based objects inspired by time spent in the Esplanade’s Burkitt Collection of Indigenous artifacts from the Kainai, Piikani, and Amskapi Nations. The pieces in this exhibition are not direct references to the objects in the collection. Rather, they are a reflective response to her experience visiting with these ancestral items.

During her visits with the collection, HeavyShield felt as though she were visiting kin, even though she had not met these family members as they physically existed two generations ago. She explains, “There remains a connection and an obligation strongly felt, that I greet and pay my respects while visiting with these objects.” For the artist these are sacred objects, part of paying her respects meant not using any imagery from the Burkett collection directly. Instead, she worked with imagery of land from her home, a decision inspired by nostalgic thoughts of kin that surfaced during her creative process.

For HeavyShield, this project does not end with the completion of these works or the exhibition. It has inspired a family homecoming. She explains, “This project will continue in a proposed gathering to take place next summer. My granddaughter will lead our family in a hide-tanning workshop. Word of this has already grown and friends made through the Burkitt collection and through art have expressed interest in attending and/or donating hides for this homecoming workshop.”


December 10, 2020−February 27, 2021
Landed is a group exhibition featuring artists from across Canada whose creative practices examine the complexities of immigration, borders, and cultural adaptation. Anahita Norouzi, Nurgul Rodriguez, and Andreas Rutkauskas take different creative approaches but have the same intent: to generate a dialogue about decolonization, diaspora and global migration policies. The three bodies of work that comprise this exhibition were achieved through immense dedication, fieldwork, time, and labour.

Other Landscapes, by Anahita Norouzi, is a multimedia installation featuring photography, sound, and glass sculptures. Engaging with eight refugees, Norouzi collected stories through sound recording and object collection, and these interactions manifested into seven-foot photographic still lifes.

In Becoming Words, Nurgul Rodriguez conveys through textiles, paper, and porcelain a narrative based on her experience as an immigrant to Canada, as well as those of refugees and exiles who adapt to processes, languages, and procedures in a new country.

Borderline documents the longest shared land border in the world. Close to nine thousand kilometres, the Canada-US border has 119 legal land crossings. Over three years, Andreas Rutkauskas journeyed more than 19,000 kilometres along the 49th parallel, from the Yukon all the way to the New Brunswick–Maine border. He documented over two hundred locations and captured images ranging from an abandoned crossing in Big Beaver, Saskatchewan, to a telephone reporting booth in Angle Inlet, Minnesota.


Anahita Norouzi (born in Tehran in 1983) is originally from Iran and lives in Montreal, where she dedicates herself to her artistic practice. She holds degrees in Fine Arts and French Literature from Concordia University in Montreal. Nurgul Rodriguez settled in Calgary, Alberta in 2009 after nomadic years of living in Turkey, U.S.A., Spain with her family. She holds MFA form the University of Calgary (2017) and a BFA from Dokuz Eylul University (1999). Andreas Rutkauskas was born in Winnipeg (Treaty 1 territory, the ancestral and traditional homeland of Anishinaabe peoples) and currently resides on the unceeded traditional territory of the Syilx (Okanagan Valley, British Columbia). He teaches photography at The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus.


Dauntless The Lost Town

October 13, 2021 – January 29, 2021

Located just a few kilometers south of Medicine Hat, stands what is left of the Canada Cement Company town, Dauntless. But just as quickly as it began, Dauntless collapsed under the weight of its own progress, and today, all that remains of the town is a large abandoned cement factory. What happened to Dauntless?


TREX SPACE |The Animal Responded

A walrus surfaces from the ocean. A polar bear roams rocky terrain. Two foxes encounter one another in twisted play. At first glance Philip Kanwischer’s photographs appear to be extraordinary wildlife images, but further reflection reveals clever deceit. They have been altered to challenge our perceptions.
In this exhibition Kanwischer presents nine photographs and five drawings inspired by his encounters with wildlife in Alberta, Yukon Territory, Eastern Canada and Svalbard—an archipelago situated between mainland Norway and the North Pole. During these encounters relationships were formed, information exchanged and photographs captured. The artist likes to think of each creature as a collaborator. Their calls and gestures inform the work in tandem with his creative process. The initial meeting is just the introduction. From there the artist sorts through hundreds of photographs and uses drawing and needle felting to develop ideas for final compositions. It is a lengthy process that results in composite images that have been digitally altered and bonded together. They straddle the line between what is possible and fantastical, creating an unsettling tension for the viewer. As Kanwischer explains, “the goal of my work is to embody otherworldly interspecies scenarios, creating a commentary on our current climate and the othering of our animal counterparts.” 1
The Animal Responded encourages us to move beyond a passive glance and acknowledge that each creature represented has a unique point of view that when we look to them, they look back at us. It is from this vantage point that we can begin to untangle the bodies of the foxes, count the limbs of the polar bear and trace the word leave along the scars of the walrus.

Curated by Shannon Bingeman, Alberta Society of Artists, TREX Region 3


Zachari Logan | Outgrowth

September 8−November 13, 2020

In the Fall of 2020, the Esplanade presented Outgrowth, a solo exhibition by internationally renowned Regina-based artist Zachari Logan.
These exquisitely rendered pastel drawings and ceramic sculptures metaphorically communicate perceptions of memory, mortality, the body and queer identity. The use of flora in Logan’s work is layered with symbolic intent and challenges gender norms and expectations. Through his use of flora, Logan conveys concepts rooted in humanity’s connectedness to land, visually articulating how we are an extension of it.

Artists have employed flora imagery and symbolism for centuries. Botanical imagery bloomed in the fifteenth century as artists became interested in depicting objects from the natural world. Beyond their decorative purpose, plants and flowers visually communicated symbolic meaning. Logan pushes this symbolism further in the drawing Bruising; precisely drawn flora varieties cascade down a soft blue background, simultaneously expressing both the strength and fragility of the body and the brevity of life.

Zachari Logan (b. Saskatoon, 1980) is a Canadian artist working mainly with large-scale drawing, ceramic and installation practices. Logan’s work has been exhibited widely, in group and solo exhibitions throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and can be found in public and private collections worldwide, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Remai Modern.

Jeff Goring | Thinking of Others

September 8−November 13, 2020

Thinking of Others, a solo exhibition of large-scale graffiti paintings by Medicine Hat–based artist Jeff Goring, aka Sonz1, includes sixteen-foot graffiti works based on kindness and were inspired by Biblical quotes such as “Love your neighbour as yourself” and “Do not look to your own interests but to the interests of others.” The result of the artist’s prolific twenty-year street-art career, they speak to the evolution of the street-art genre—graffiti has extended beyond the forbidden walls of alleyways and immersed itself within the contemporary art world.

The conceptual foundations of these works are a direct reflection of Sonz1 himself: kind, happy, positive and creative. He intends for the works, which were created during the current pandemic, to remind us to treat others as we would like to be treated. He explains, “We are living in such a crazy time, and people can be a big help if they would just take a minute to think of others.”

Sonz1 has travelled all over the world sharing his creativity and passion for graffiti and hip-hop culture. His works are found in over fourteen countries, from Norway to England and as far away as Australia. He has worked with Nike, Lululemon, Coca-Cola and the Toronto Raptors. He represents the Gospel Graffiti Crew, a collective made up of twenty-five Christian-based graffiti artists from all over the world.


TREX SPACE | between-ness

Hanna Petkau is an emerging artist from Calgary, Alberta. Originally from British Columbia, her childhood was spent walking the coastal shoreline, collecting found objects. This experience had an immense impact on her artistic practice; influencing her aesthetic, processes and concepts. Over the last two years she has been creating a series of wall sculptures that incorporate found/natural and manufactured materials such as drift wood, woven wire, clay, fibers, seeds and rope. Petkau finds a balance between transformation and familiarity, creating an intricately fabricated body of work that intersects both the natural and manufactured world. This exhibition is comprised of ten panels of three dimensional work that hang on the wall.

Curated by Xanthe Isbister, Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre, TREX Region 4


Theresa Eisenbarth | Walking the Flats

June 15−August 14, 2020

A sentimental journey, expertly expressed through soft brush strokes of vibrant colours creates a new body of work by local artist Theresa Eisenbarth. These vivid paintings are inspired by Eisenbarth’s memories of walking around the neighbourhood of her childhood home on Dominion Street. Familiar Medicine Hat landmarks such as Mackenzie Drug Store, Lion’s Park gates, and the Korner Konvenience visually narrate a sense of place and nostalgic connection to “home”.

Theresa studied Visual Communications at Medicine Hat College and received a B.F.A. Fine Arts from the University of Calgary. After taking a break to focus on family life, she established her practice in 2012. Now, as a full time artist, she spends 40 hours a week in her studio and produces 50-60 pieces each year.


Mireille Perron | Anatomy of a Glass Menagerie: Altaglass

June 15−August 14, 2020

The Anatomy of a Glass Menagerie: Altaglass is a solo exhibition of works by Calgary based artist Mireille Perron. One hundred and thirteen delicately blown glass figurines juxtaposed against deep blue cyanotype monoprints create a body of work founded on the artist’s curiosity of craft practices and their histories. These works were inspired by Perron’s residency at Medalta’s International Artist in Residence Program, which provided an opportunity for Perron to explore and research the Altaglass collection at Hycroft China Ltd. These objects became the foundation of this body of work, as each of the Altaglass glass figurines became the subjects for her cyanotype prints; a monoprint generated by UV light exposure.

Mireille Perron is a professor emeritus at UA Arts and is the founder of The Laboratory of Feminist Pataphysics, a social experiment that masquerades as collaborative works of art/events.


A Brewing Question

February 15−October 2, 2020

Western Canada has pondered the question of what we drink, how much and where, since the creation of the North West Mounted Police in 1873. Many enjoy a pint from our local breweries today. Experience a story that began with the Saskatchewan Brewery in 1884, a journey with as many twists and turns as the river for which it was named.


The Writing on the Wall: The Work of Dr. Joane Cardinal-Schubert, RCA

February 1−March 28, 2020

A profound and impressive retrospective of the work of the celebrated artist, activist, curator, poet, writer and mentor, The Writing on the Wall: The Work of Dr. Joane Cardinal-Schubert, RCA weaves through Indigenous activism, seldom-told Canadian histories and environmental issues. Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s work melds playfulness with astute observation and an informed critique of the world around her based in in-depth historical knowledge.

Joane Cardinal-Schubert (1942-2006) was born in Red Deer, AB, a member of the Kainai (Blood) Nation, and received a BFA from the University of Calgary. In addition to her acclaimed practice as an artist, she was a successful and influential curator, lecturer, poet and director of video and Indigenous theatre. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, the Commemorative Medal of Canada and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Art.

The Writing on the Wall is curated by Lindsey V. Sharman, organized and circulated by Nickle Galleries, University of Calgary, with assistance from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts.



December 21, 2019−September 25, 2020

The first commercial cameras came on the market in the 1880s, about the same time that the first train crossed the South Saskatchewan River into a town of tents, Medicine Hat. Explore the technological, artistic, and social changes of photography as it developed alongside the story of this community through changing technology and the lens of photographers within the region. From daguerreotypes to digital, we have been recording the people, places, and activities of the world around us. Capture glimpses of the evolution of photography through a Medicine Hat lens in Snapshot: A History of Photography.

This exhibition was part of the 2020 Alberta-wide Exposure Photography Festival,