Brittney and Richelle Bear Hat

Horse Camp

Edmonton Exhibition Information
August 13 - October 15, 2017
Location: Emily Murphy Park; 11904 Emily Murphy Park Rd NW, Edmonton, AB  
Opening picnic reception and artist talk: August 13, 2017  from 2pm - 5pm at Emily Murphy Park

Saskatoon Exhibition Information
August  - November, 2017
Location: North side of 20th St W between Avenue H South and Avenue E South;
                      AKA Artist Run Centre; 424 20 St W, Saskatoon, SK


Bear Hat archives; film still; 2014.    

Bear Hat archives; film still; 2014.  

Horse Camp is a new joint project created by Brittney Bear Hat and Richelle Bear Hat that creates a narrative of survival, language, and family. The way in which the image and text are treated mimic how stories are told and passed along, often piece by piece, and it is up to the listener, and in this case, the viewer, to put the story together.

Horse Camp is a series of banners will be concurrently exhibited in Edmonton, AB and Saskatoon, SK and will allow a different readings and as each set of banners interacts with the exhibition location in a different way. In Edmonton, the  banners will be exhibited in Emily Murphy Park in the River Valley, a location that mirrors the site from which the image for the project,  a film still, was taken. In Saskatoon, the banners line 20th Street in Riversdale, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city and a site of rapid gentrification and destabilization for residents.

ARTIST STATEMENT: Horse Camp is Brittney Bear Hat and Richelle Bear Hat’s latest collaborative work, where they recreate and explore a memory of building a fire with their father and youngest sister. The landscape where their family has been gathering and learning skills is the place where the Bear Hat’s education stems from and continues. Being out at camp in the bush offers opportunities to be open to the environment, learn traditions, and share stories.

“You don't learn by being stationary,” says Richelle. This is one of the attitude’s that have informed the Bear Hat’s individual practices but also their most recent collaborative work. Horse Camp provides an opportunity for everyone to walk together and be guided by one another through a seemingly simple lesson learned by both sisters from their father. Having a bush fire with family isn’t glamorous or deep in ceremony, but in the most simple way it is open and can build community.

The Bear Hat’s continue their family's care and dedication to preserving history through storytelling and giving context to images that are simple in memory; these memories are focal points for this collaboration. For Brittney,  this project is a way for them "to continue that way of sharing and learning, that happens so much out in the bush.”

The richness of connecting with family is one of many things being passed on to the Bear Hat’s. They are apart of the dreamers from their Cree community and the storytellers from their Blackfoot community. With this in mind, the Bear Hat sisters are aware of the significance of being a part of these two separate cultures and learning to balance the weight of the words and stories they are crafting.      

The ability in building a good fire is a right of passage in many communities; it demonstrates care and willingness to learn, which contributes to building an always evolving independence. Being able to build a fire for your family is a daunting task which is why it’s up to everyone involved. “We as sisters have our roles and so does our father as our teacher.”

August 13, 2017; 2pm; Emily Murphy Park, Edmonton

The Bear Hat sisters exhibition Horse Camp explores personal stories  and creates a narrative of urban Indigeneity spanning over the banners; on language and stories about lessons related to survival. Join us for a free artist talk  and opening picnic reception on Sunday,  August 13th at 2:00pm with the Bear Hat sisters.  We highly encourage you to bring a picnic and blanket for the informal gathering. Please click here to RSVP. 


About the Artists

Brittney Bear Hat is a graduate from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2011, where she majored in painting with an interest in collage and drawing. Based in Calgary, her work focuses on identity and belonging. Half Blackfoot and half Cree, Bear Hat makes work about memory and how her personal history is what makes her Native. Her work involves the process of taking her own family photos or personal items and combining them with text, retelling stories and memories. With each piece, Bear Hat is trying to figure out what is hers and what she can call home. Bear Hat has exhibited her work at such venues as Latitude 53, Edmonton, Art Gallery of Alberta and Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Kelowna.

Richelle Bear Hat is a Calgary based Indigenous artist with both Blackfoot and Cree heritage. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing in 2011 and has since gone on to work with the Banff Centre as a Collections Work Study and is currently the Engagement Coordinator at TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary. Bear Hat's artistic practice investigates ideas surrounding family relationships and the types of knowledge that are capable of being passed through them. Explored through the use of photography, transfers, video, and paper based works, her use of materials and means of production support transferences of memory and provide a platform for storytelling.


Edmonton project was produced with the support of the Edmonton Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. The Saskatoon portion of the project, in partnership with AKA artist-run centre, was funded by:  Saskatchewan Lotteries Community Grant and the City of Saskatoon.