For thousands of years before colonization, the nations who signed Treaty 7 including the Blackfoot Confederacy (the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations), the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda (the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations), as well as members of the Métis Nation of Alberta, integrated visual and material culture into their daily lives to share stories about this land, Moh’kinstsis, the place now known as Calgary.
Comparatively, Calgary’s contemporary visual art history is only a blip in time, and it remains enriched by Indigenous voices. It began with and continues because of a robust group of dedicated do-it-yourself artists, arts administrators and arts supporters who believe art has the power to share and respond to people’s most deeply held beliefs and values. This map represents an incomplete survey of many of the visual and media art initiatives that have shaped and, in some cases, continue to shape Calgary’s vibrant and expansive art scene. I am grateful to all of the people who contributed this alternative art history.