Sept 10, 2016 – Oct 5, 2016
Artist Reception Thursday Sept 22, 2016 from 7pm-10:30pm
At the Amsterdam Tea Room, 211 Bannatyne Ave in Winnipeg, Manitoba

LAND, WATER, WARRIORS is based on photos taken during July 29 – Aug 6, 2016. I went on a solo road trip traveling the back roads through North Dakota, South Dakota, dipping into Wyoming and crossing through Montana. My goal was simple. Drive to territories unknown, chase the horizon, camp under the stars and allow the wind to be my guide.

I had a vague destination but the wind had another plan and led me through Fort Berthold, Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, Crow Agency, and Devils Lake Reservations. The territories of our ancestors. Land so beautiful I fell head over heels in love with it. With a history so twisted and convoluted with wars, broken treaties, and being taken that it broke my heart. I would often just sit silently on a lone stretch of highway at the side of the road breathing in the past and dreaming of what was and what could have been.

LAND, WATER, WARRIORS arrived over a week long intense period of artmaking. It is what I saw. What I imagined. What I learned. My goal was to tell the stories of the land by creating a language of imagery influenced by the childlike simplicity of Ledger book art, rough-hewn simple forms of pictographs, and the gathering of hundreds of tribes happening right now on the Standing Rock Nation, where thousands of people, and communities are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline..

The main focus of the show is comprised of giclee prints on acid free watercolour paper, with Lino cut hand stamped images, some with ink, and foil. Where possible I’ve written the facts about the land and water and the warriors who have defended it for centuries. This is LAND, WATER, WARRIORS.

There will be original artworks and selected prints available. The show will be up until Oct 5, 2016.

Arlea Ashcroft a Metis multi-disciplinary artist from Treaty One Territory and the Homeland Of The Metis, has sustained herself in Manitoba’s visual arts scene for over 20 years. She has received local, national, and international exposure through publication, broadcast and public presentation. Whether it be as guitarist for the now defunct punk band SHRIMP, smearing a brush across a canvas, or carefully exposing an image, Ashcroft always has a hard truth to reveal with a rock and roll smirk.



The Times      Artist inspired by the past        By: Ligia Braidotti

Posted: 09/19/2016 12:30 PM |

A North Point Douglas artist turned a period of intense learning into beautiful art.

In July, Arlea Ashcroft and her dog went on a nine-day journey through Fort Berthold, Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, Crow Agency and Devils Lake Reservations through unknown roads. Ashcroft said she fell in love with the land for the things she saw, the people she met, and the history she wouldn’t know otherwise.

Ask her to tell you the stories and you’ll soon see her eyes watering, because as she said, it was an emotional experience — one she will never forget.

“It’s glorious. It’s one of the things that you hear about it, or you have an idea, but until you’re there, and standing on the banks of the Missouri or standing on the battlefields where wars were fought, learning about the history of it. Until you’re there it doesn’t connect,” she said. “It was about finding this real connection to the land.”

The experience gave her a sense of belonging and freedom, and enabled her to envision the events of the past. Those visions are part of the pieces she created which were inspired by her journey, called LAND, WATER, WARRIORS.

Ashcroft plays with three layers. The base is the pictures she took with her iPhone of the sites she visited. The second are linocuts — hand-stamped images — of the things she envisioned for each location, and the third is writing. Ashcroft wrote short passages of her feelings and history in some photographs, an influence of the almost 200-year-old ledger books she saw during her trip.

“Just looking out across the plains and trying to imagine what would it have looked like with thousands of warriors, what would it have looked like with the muskets flaring,” she said of the things that inspired her art.

LAND, WATER, WARRIORS is showcased at the Amsterdam Tea Room (103-211 Bannatyne Ave.), and the opening reception will be on Sept. 22 from 7 to 10:30 p.m. The show will run until Oct. 5.

Mark Turner, owner of the Amsterdam Tea Room, said supporting local artists was something he wanted to do. The store has space for them to showcase their work. “Having (Ashcroft’s) work here was something that we were planning already. She was going to use some of the work she had already. But four days later she came down to the store and told me about her experience. She blew me away with her work and with her story,” Turner said.

Ashcroft said the experience was eye-opening, and she felt inspired to share it with people around her, and the best way to affect people was through art.

“I felt such pride for the Indigenous nations and the people and that no matter what is thrown at us, we don’t back out. And the real feeling of the sense of loss through history that has been imposed and the fact that it was a real slaughter and genocide… and all over the land, and as First Nations people our role is to protect the land for everyone. I think it has made me more in touch, emotional and full of pride.”


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