By: Tayler Morencie
On Thursday, March 25, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, a notable Canadian interdisciplinary artist, joined the Grade 9 Integrate Arts class to discuss her work and share her creative experiences. Cheryl is of Cree, Metis, German and Polish descent, and has family ties to the Papaschase First Nation and Kikino Metis Settlement in Alberta.
Cheryl joined us from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan via Zoom to speak with our class, share her journey as an artist, and answer students’ questions about her life and a career in the arts.
Cheryl is the recipient of two imagineNATIVE New Media Awards (2005, 2006), and two Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (2006, 2007). She is also the CEO of Miyoh Music Inc., an Indigenous niche music publishing company and record label. Cheryl’s Why the Caged Bird Sings: Immersive Engagements project is currently touring and a new exhibition, Entanglements, is coming soon to the Karsh-Masson Gallery in Ottawa. Notably, Cheryl was the recent recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Artistic Achievement in Visual and Media Arts
, which recognizes her impressive and expansive career as an artist.
Throughout her talk, Cheryl shared stories about her days in a punk band, of performing at the 4th Line Theatre in Millbrook, of creating performance art that engaged her community, as well as many projects in between which blurred the boundaries between visual arts, music, film, virtual reality and more. Cheryl’s advice to our young artists included emphasizing the importance of sharing their artistic gifts to bring joy, using art to enact positive change in their communities, and exploring what makes them unique.
Cheryl’s work has always focussed on the importance of the health and well-being of the members of her community and the land on which we all live. These intentions align with our values here at Lakefield and modelled for our students how important the arts can be in nurturing a healthy, caring community. We are so grateful for Cheryl’s time speaking with our students and we look forward to following her career to see what she does next!