Billboard 208 /

let’s meet at the confluence

Riel Starr

January 26 - June 30, 2024

let’s meet at the confluence is a suggestion to all Calgarians to consider the site where the Elbow flows into the Bow river and question how settler-colonial history is privileged in public and site specific art. The piece references the different histories of gathering at the confluence of the waters, histories that long predate Calgary, Alberta. Despite histories of Indigenous uses of the land, queer cruising, sex work, trade, the arrival of the railway, and the North West Mounted Police, the site of the confluence is often overlooked and rarely used as the great meeting place that it once was. The simple map and text invites an audience of all backgrounds, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, to make their way from the The New Gallery along the Bow river to the confluence viewpoint and to consider their proximity to one another. The text is in English and the word confluence is repeated in multiple languages including Blackfoot, Cantonese, and Cree to honour the artist’s Michif roots and the specific location of the billboard on Treaty 7 and in Chinatown, pointing to the history of many different people living along the rivers.

Documentation by Danny Luong

Riel Starr is a Red River Métis artist currently based in Mohkinstsis/Calgary whose interdisciplinary approach to public art and sculpture counters the settler-colonial understanding of Métis people and culture. Their work discusses themes of site specificity, local history, and past and present ways people engage with the land around them by revealing overlooked or hidden histories through zines and personal writing, recontextualizing found objects and archival materials, latex, leather, sinew, and beads, as well as performance documented through photo and video. At the core of their practice are notions of survivance, queerness, and appreciation for the lands that cradle us.

中文翻译 Chinese Translation ...