Updated: Mar 17, 2022
Rudy Black Plume/Iitsikiitsapoyii (Standing On Top Alone) is an artist from the Kainai Nation within the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksikaitsitapi). Rudy’s art is rooted in her love for the Niitsitapi culture and draws inspiration from Blackfoot ways of knowing. Her art practice is reflective of her experiences as a Blackfoot person living in a world that lacks representation of Indigenous stories and worldviews. Black Plume believes that representation is crucial to our lived experience, as it helps to shape how we envision ourselves and how we are perceived by others. Rudy hopes that her work helps Indigenous peoples to feel validated in their existence and inspires all peoples to continue to learn more about Indigenous cultures, histories, and ways of knowing. She believes art and creativity can broaden our minds, bring people together, and heal our spirits.
Rudy loves all art forms and has dabbled in many, including make up, photography, sculpture and painting but it wasn’t until the Pandemic hit, where she had time to refine her craft in digital design and began sharing her work with the world. Since putting herself out there she’s been able to collaborate on some Truth and Reconciliation projects with the City of Lethbridge as a graphic designer, was named one of Calgary Library’s 2021 Indigenous Placemaking artists, and has had her art displayed in various art shows and installed in different locations around Southern Alberta. Her most recent work will be displayed in Chinook Blast with the #T7NFT Project, a collection of Indigenous-based non-fungible tokens. This collection can be viewed at the Calgary Central Library from February 4 – 27.
Aside from art, Rudy is also an educator and teaches middle school math in her home community. She believes education is an important tool for Indigenous peoples to utilize, as it can be used to increase the overall quality of one’s life. Rudy stands by the saying: “education is the new buffalo” and encourages all Indigenous youth to continue their pursuit of knowledge, so they may one day bring back what they learned and share it with their communities, just as the buffalo hunters brought back sustenance to feed and nourish the people.
Rudy loves to explore and learn about the ancestral territory of her people, the Siksikaitsitapiiksi (Blackfoot). She believes it is important to be out on the land in order to preserve cultural teachings and traditional ecological knowledge and understandings. In re-establishing the connection to land and space we are able to mend the Human-Nature bond severed by settler colonialism and the implementation of Reservation life.