Call for Artists - Lougheed House

Date: Jan 14, 2019

Deadline: Feb 28, 2019 - 11:45 pm

Lougheed House
Application deadline: February 28, 2019, 11:59 pm

Lady Isabella “Belle” Clarke (Hardisty) Lougheed was born in 1861 at Fort Resolution, a remote HBC trading post on the southern shore of the Great Slave Lake to two Métis parents. Raised within the milieu of the fur trade in what is now Western Canada, Lady Lougheed was, herself, what we might today call “Métis”.

As a child of “fur trade royalty”, Lady Lougheed was wealthy, connected, and well-educated. Indeed, in addition to his own personal and professional accomplishments, marriage into the Hardisty family was a driving force behind Senator James A. Lougheed’s success. Throughout Isabella’s life, she was a member of high society in Calgary, and active in numerous social and political causes, affectionately known as “Calgary’s hostess”. Although her life differs from what people might typically envision when they think of “Métis”, her roots in the Métis community were well known. This raises fascinating questions about both her personal identity and Métis identity more broadly.

“Métis” is a complex and contested term. To some it refers strictly to the French and Michif-speaking, Catholic buffalo hunters resident at Red River during the 19th century and their direct descendants. To others, it refers to anyone of mixed First Nations and European descent. Metis have variously been described as a race, an ethnicity, and a culture. However, none of these definitions fully capture the dense nuances of Métis peoplehood.

Within the Métis nation, cultural expression has varied over space and time, according to a plethora of economic, political, and social factors. Although it may not be immediately apparent, the Lougheed House was a Métis household, infused with a dense Métis identity which was also mediated by class and gender.

This exhibition will explore Métis identity and peoplehood - past and present - on an individual, communal, and national level. What does it mean to be Métis? How has cultural expression changed over space and time? What role does social positionality play in these expressions?

It will also ask broader questions regarding the interplay of definition, identity, and representation: What does the term Métis even mean? How do dominant understandings of Métis identity relate to community understandings? Does focusing on difference rather than density obscure more than it reveals? What are the real impacts of these contested definitions on the identity of Métis individuals and the Métis people as a collective?

Interested artists are asked to send submissions in writing which include:

  • digital images (no more than five and no larger than 1 MB each);
  • title, dimensions, and medium of each work;
  • an artist’s statement which puts the work in the context of the exhibition as described;
  • the name and contact information of the artist, including a brief CV (no longer than two pages).

We are interested in past work, current work, and in artwork that will be created specifically for this exhibition. If you would like to tour the house before submitting your proposal or if you have any questions about the process, please feel free to contact the curator, Caroline Loewen, by phone or email.


  •                 Application deadline: February 28, 2019
  •                 Proposal selection: March 15, 2019
  •                 Exhibition install: June 18 and 19, 2019
  •                 Exhibition opening: June 21, 2019
  •                 Exhibition: June 20, 2019 – September 29, 2019

Artists will be paid according to the CARFAC Minimum Fee Schedule for participation in the exhibition.

For more information on the Lougheed House, please go to or visit us at 707-13 Avenue SW, Calgary AB.

Submissions should be sent by February 28, 2019 by email to:
                Caroline Loewen, Curator
                (403)244-6333 ext. 109