An Alberta-based artist has helped IKEA design its first-ever Indigenous showroom.
Cardinal said he was attracted to the project because he believes the room will help to share culture in a way that is accessible to many.
“The most important thing we want people to feel or understand when they walk through the space is more about who we are as Indigenous people,” Cardinal said.
“Not only is it a great space for beautiful furniture… there’s also many teachings involved in this space.
“It’s showing what everyday life is for an Indigenous family.”
Cardinal has worked as an artist in Alberta for over 25 years and has done a large variety of work in the region, including set and prop design, live performances, as well as painting, sculpture and drawing.
The room features IKEA furniture, of course, but also cultural items like pow-wow outfits, trapping supplies and more personal items like family photos and home movies from an actual Alberta family — from the Sampson Cree Nation and Montana First Nation, in the Maskwacis region.
“Everything in the room in here that is Indigenous is from the family themselves,” Cardinal said.
“What really makes it unique is these are authentic pieces, they are here from the family to represent who [Indigenous people] are in a very positive way.”
Cardinal is a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation in northern Alberta. He said he hopes other local businesses take note.
“I think it’s really important to have spaces like this,” he said. “Especially here in Edmonton — that encourage people to understand Indigenous culture a little bit better.
“To have a place where many people of all nations can come into the space, learn something about Indigenous people, understand who we are a bit more — and maybe battle some of those stereotypes that people have about us and about the way that we live.
“Nobody has ever taken Indigenous culture and integrated it so beautifully into their space as IKEA has done. And I really hope other spaces look at what they’ve done here.”
IKEA remains open in Edmonton amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 25 per cent capacity limit.
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