The City of Lacombe has a new piece of artwork to commemorate and honour the community on Treaty 6 Land as well as the travelling route called Buffalo Trail, which passed through Medicine Hills, the City of Lacombe, and Central Alberta.
“We're here to celebrate a local indigenous artist and the new piece that he has undertaken for the City of Lacombe to acknowledge Treaty 6,” said City of Lacombe Mayor, Grant Creasey, “Even though we live in an all-inclusive community, this was a timely thing to do and we will display these works proudly here at City Hall.”
The artist named Byron Samson (Mistikonapew) who is from Maskwacis chose to depict the main signatories that were involved when Treaty 6 was signed and the City of Lacombe crest.
“It was signed on two different dates in 1876 in August and in September. Following that, there were adhesions as other chiefs in the Treaty 6 area signed on because they were unable to get together at the same time,” said Maureen MacKenzie, Executive / Arts & Culture Assistant City of Lacombe.
Now the signatories have been brought together by Samson’s work. The artist noted that a bit of research went into finding the photographs.
“It was really fun to do the research. If anybody has time, I would suggest it's everybody do research on the field. It's really fascinating, quite honestly,” said Samson.
The photographs that Samson was able dig up for reference for his piece were in black and white; therefore, most of the colour used to depict images were artistically invented. However, for some signatories, Byron was able to find references close to home.
“That process is not always accurate, I'll admit, but thankfully I have some family members in here personally, and from there I was able to extrapolate through black and white relatively what the tones of their skin would be. The only the only part that was difficult was doing the Government of Canada representatives’ side because I have no idea,” said Samson.
Altogether the artist said the piece took around 72 hours and was done entirely out of Prismacolour Pencil Crayons.
Samson has been doing art since he was in Grade 12 and began with an interest in comic books. A teacher guided him towards doing more realistic style drawings which he ended up enjoying.
Byron Samson will be exhibiting larger pieces of work at the Alberta Gallery of Art in Edmonton.
“The pieces there are individual portraits of knowledge keepers, elders, chiefs, people who are significant in our community. It's ranged from old chiefs to just elders ceremony, knowledge keepers, and also including some of my own family members who were chiefs at the time,” said Samson.
However, if you’re not looking to make the trek North you can check out his piece just outside of the Council Chambers at City Hall.