Catherine Blackburn was born in Patuanak Saskatchewan, of Dene and European ancestry and is a member of the English River First Nation. She is a multidisciplinary artist and jeweller, whose common themes address Canada’s colonial past that are often prompted by personal narratives. Her art merges contemporary concepts with elements of traditional Dene culture that create dialogue between traditional art forms and new interpretations of them. Her work has exhibited in notable national and international exhibitions and fashion runways including; Àbadakone, National Gallery of Canada, Santa Fe Haute Couture Fashion Show, Niigaanikwewag (2nd iteration), Art Gallery of Mississauga, and Art Encounters on the Edge, Bonavista Biennale, Newfoundland. She has received numerous grants and awards for her work, including the Saskatchewan RBC Emerging Artist Award, the Melissa Levin Emerging Artist Award, a publication in Vogue online magazine, as well as her inclusion on the 2019 Sobey Art Award long list.
My work in wearable art explores the complexities of history and identity through a narrative framework. Inspired by my late grandmother’s incredible talent of garment making and adornment, my work is bound through the love that stitching suggests. I enjoy utilizing both historical and non-historical materials to create ‘storiers’ that both honor and challenge perspectives of contemporary Indigenous experience. These sculptural wearable works become acts of reclamation in their refusal to be classified or minimized by the oppressive history of colonization, by instead celebrating the contemporary resurgence of Indigenous presence and identity.