Several weeks ago, CFN put out a call for an Indigenous artist & an immigrant or refugee artist to work together to create a wall sized mural for the lobby of our new location. The winning proposal was submitted by the the team of Mexican artist Christian Olguin & Indigenous artist Kalum Teke Dan of the Blackfoot Confederation.
CFN is incredibly happy to have these two amazing artists on board and we can’t wait to see what they create. In this post allow us to introduce you to Kalum Teke Dan.
Kalum Teke Dan, a member of southern Alberta’s Blood Tribe, is a talented artist whose powerful images appear in a number of places throughout the City of Calgary and beyond. His accomplishments and 25 year long journey as an artist have been self-made through passion, dedication, hard work and perhaps most of all, his raw and innate artistic talent; all driven by an undercurrent of desire to create.
“I actually did go to school for a short time when I was younger.I enrolled in the Alberta College of the Arts in my early 20’s but a few months into the program I decided to set out on my own. As a youngster, I dreamt a lot about art and after painting a few pieces in my mid-teens I finally came to realize that I really did have some talent. I believe that art is just a part of me, a piece of who I am and after selling some of my work as an 18 and 19-year-old I realized that painting and creating art was all I wanted to do – and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Kalum has been an established artist for over nearly 3 decades years, completing a number of large scale public art projects within the just the past 5 years. These projects include murals for the Calgary Stampede Indian village, for an exterior wall at 17th Avenue Framing, in the lobby of the new City of Calgary Public Library, along with his most recently completed project, a mural on the John Howard Society exterior wall. He is also currently working on a large scale mural for City Hall.
Artistic expression is in his DNA it seems, as it should also be noted that Kalum's grandparents were renowned for their bead work and traditional regalia.
“They were both very talented and traditional people who inspired and encouraged me to seek out my own path and to work hard at whatever task I took on,” he explained. “I was raised by my mother, Joanne, a strong-willed and determined woman who seldom missed a day of work. In fact, she was the first Aboriginal woman to retire from the City of Calgary after having contributed 30 years of service. My mother was my grounding force and she kept me on the straight and narrow; she always pushed me to continue with my art and I believe that her encouragement and support helped enable me to succeed and become the person I am today. Even now, I continue to push myself and am currently mentoring other artists who want to do what I’m doing for a living.”
Much of Kalum's work is based on personal reflection and observation surrounding the spirituality of his People and the energy around us. His roots are with the
Blood Tribe in southern Alberta, and although he was raised in “the big city,” his
family exerted a strong influence on his early life, which led him to an appreciation of Indigenous culture, teachings and artistic traditions.