Letter Home, 1987
oil on canvas, 16" ×16"
Joane Cardinal-Schubert Artist Biography
Cardinal-Schubert was born in 1942 in the town of Red Deer. She attended the Alberta College of Art + Design (now Alberta University of the Arts) in 1962 where she studied painting, printmaking, and multimedia. Cardinal-Schubert's indigenous culture was omitted from the education system, the media, history books, and arts. She focused her work primarily on her family history and Kainaiwa ancestry. In 1973 she began a B.A. at the University of Alberta before transferring to the University of Calgary to graduate with a B.F.A. in 1977. In 1978 Cardinal-Schubert worked as an assistant curator at the University of Calgary Art Gallery, and the Nickle Arts Museum (also in Calgary), from 1979 to 1985. Throughout her career her writings have been published internationally in art magazines, catalogues, and books.
Cardinal-Schubert's paintings and installations tell of her personal experiences which she weaves with social and historical events. Visually her work depicts valiant Indigenous motifs while communicating about subjects that affect and impact her. She takes up and revisits continuously issues of colonialism and the destruction of the environment throughout her work which at times reflects a 'collective Indian experience' while at other times producing work which is also informed by trends in Western avant-garde and contemporary art. When asked about her experience as an Indigenous artist she writes: "I had a difficult time realizing I was categorized by my personal expressions. The categorization of Native Art was attached to my work and others' works by non-Native curators. Even though I had written the same exams in University and fulfilled all the requirements of a degree...when I got out of school my content which was largely about myself, who I was, my responses to the world etc. was labelled as Native Art and then political art - they seemed to go together. Later when Native Curators came on the scene, and called the work Native art - that was different. We were declaring who we were, not being told by others."Cardinal-Schubert was the fourth woman to be admitted to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1985. In 1993 she received the Commemorative Medal of Canada and 2003 she was given as honorary doctorate of laws by her alma mater. In 2005 she was given the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2007 the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation gave her their Art Award.