Of Cree/Halfbreed and German/Polish ancestry, Cheryl L’Hirondelle is an interdisciplinary, community-engaged artist, a singer/songwriter and a critical thinker whose family roots are from Papaschase First Nation, amiskwaciy wâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta) and Kikino Metis Settlement, Alberta. Her work critically investigates and articulates a dynamism of nêhiyawin (Cree worldview) in contemporary time-place with a practice that incorporates Indigenous language(s), audio, video, virtual reality, the olfactory, sewn objects, music and audience/user participation to create immersive environments towards ‘radical inclusion.’
As a songwriter, L’Hirondelle’s focus is on both sharing nêhiyawêwin (Cree language) and Indigenous and contemporary song-forms and personal narrative songwriting as methodologies toward sonic survivance. She has exhibited and performed widely, both nationally and internationally.
L’Hirondelle is the recipient of two imagineNATIVE New Media Awards (2005, 2006), and two Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (2006, 2007). She holds a master’s degree in Design from OCAD University’s Inclusive Design program (2015) and is a member of the University’s Indigenous Education Council. She is currently completing a practice-based PhD with SMARTlab/University College Dublin, Ireland. Cheryl is also the CEO of Miyoh Music Inc., an Indigenous niche music publishing company and record label.
“In an artistic practice that spans forty years, with regional and international exhibitions alongside works made in the most rural communities, Cheryl L’Hirondelle has created long-standing artistic contributions, collaborations and friendships, garnering utmost respect from those within and far beyond art worlds.
In current times of political, cultural and environmental upheaval, the world is in desperate need of artists like Cheryl L’Hirondelle, who can help us to create new social formations and to bridge knowledges, communities and histories.
Cheryl L’Hirondelle is a consummate artist in a life-long state of learning, who in turn teaches those around her to recognize and creatively transgress established boundaries so that everyone is invited, every being is honoured and every place can shelter.”
Nominators: the O’kinādās Collective (Peter Morin, Ayumi Goto, Stephen Foster), France Trépanier, visual artist, curator and researcher, and Dr. Julie Nagam, Canada Research Chair, Associate Professor, University of Winnipeg
“In current times of political, cultural and environmental upheaval, the world is in desperate need of artists like Cheryl L’Hirondelle, who can help us to create new social formations and to bridge knowledges, communities and histories.”