New graduate Nahanni Giuricich (BFA ’23, Painting) has designed the 2023 chuckwagon canvas for Calgary technology talent firm MobSquad, helmed by notable chuckwagon driver Ross Knight.
The Sayisi Dene artist’s artwork, Spirit of the Rocky Mountains, will adorn MobSquad’s chuckwagon in the historic event, as the Calgary Stampede celebrates the 100th anniversary of Stampede chuckwagon racing.
Giuricich has a deep love for western art and culture and is excited to see her art become a focal point of this year’s Stampede celebrations.
“When this opportunity for an Indigenous artist came up, I felt it was made for me,” said Giuricich. “It's important for Indigenous voices to be included in all aspects of Canadian culture. Especially within an event such as the Stampede which is known around the world.”
Giuricich’s art often explores themes of identity and reconnection. “My Dene grandmother was an artist herself and I believe this gift was passed down to me,” said Giuricich. “I felt that I should use the gift I was given and pursue art. So far, it's been a great journey and opportunities like this help a lot.”
When designing the chuckwagon canvas, Giuricich said she wanted to represent the spirit of not only the horse, but also that of the surrounding natural delights – including the northern lights, the prairies and the rocky mountains.
“My art is inspired from a specific animal's spirit in its natural element,” she said. “This gives Indigenous voices a large platform and shows the world that we are still very much here – and so is our culture. Oftentimes art is created about us and not by us, so I am honoured with the opportunity of creating a piece of art for this event. MobSquad has seen the need for Indigenous voices to be included in these events, and hopefully other companies can do the same.”
The painting Spirit of the Rocky Mountains is currently on display at MobSquad Café, which is in downtown Calgary’s The Edison tower, open to the public Monday - Friday 8 AM to 5 PM.
At the conclusion of Stampede, Glenbow Museum is accessioning Giuricich’s artwork into their permanent collection.
This fall, Giuricich will continue her education at the University of Calgary where she will begin the teaching program, with the goal of one day becoming an art teacher.