Lauren Crazybull is an Edmonton-based Blackfoot, Dene visual artist whose deeply sensitive rendering of visual language testifies to the empathy, emotional intelligence and passion of the artist herself. Lauren's work is informed, in part, by several years of justice organizing, Indigenous advocacy and tireless work as an artistic facilitator and mentor for youth throughout her home province of Alberta. As such, Lauren's visual repertoire - whether expressed through portraiture, line drawings or comics - consistently seeks to create pathways of vulnerability, understanding, connection and emotional rigour between herself and the viewer. For Lauren Crazybull, visual art is a way of grappling with the complexities of a terrifying and beautiful world as an Indigenous woman whose existential, emotional, physical and creative freedom depends upon the world's ability to expand its understanding of justice, humanity and decolonial love. Lauren's art, therefore, reflects the spectrum of her personal, social, political and spiritual preoccupations in a way that is always gesturing toward, or grappling with the possibilities of peace. To that end, Lauren's most recent pieces have looked to explore the tension and power within portraiture by examining the subtle relationship between herself and the subjects she paints.
By centering the gaze, beauty and rich humanity of fellow Indigenous people in her recent work, Lauren means to ask poignant questions about how it is Indigenous identities can be represented, experienced, celebrated and understood through the particular gaze that artistry casts and requires. How, this powerful Blackfoot, Dene artist asks, is it possible to convey the sense of loss, dislocation and trauma that has been so much a part of her life as an Indigenous person living on colonized land? Beyond this, what is the capacity of art to help shape and fortify the complicated process of reclaiming culture, esteem, familial bonds and ways-of-knowing? These questions and several others are catalysts for the sincere, nuanced, skillful and deeply human artistry of Lauren Crazybull. For her ability to ask and meaningfully explore salient questions through art, Lauren Crazybull has managed to carve out a substantial but still burgeoning creative career. Her work has been published in Canadian Art Magazine (2017), Briarpatch, The Walrus and others. She has completed large scale artworks and murals for MRU, University of Alberta Alumni Society, City of Edmonton, and The Works Festival, among others.
In the coming months and years, Lauren Crazybull is devoted to continuing her path as an independent artist and youth worker who hopes to use her spectrum of skills and experiences to empower Blackfoot and other Indigenous young people through art. Lauren is a person who believes that the world needs more art-making of all kinds. She is an artist who uses her own creative potential to create honest personal expressions that reflect a deep humanity, and a genuine willingness to connect empathetically with the viewers of her art. Furthermore, she understands that her creative power is a poignant way to assert her own humanity, and advocate, in diverse and subtle ways, for the innate intellectual, spiritual, creative and political fortitude of Indigenous people.