Dawn Saunders-Dahl

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Website:  www.dawnsaundersdahl.ca


What the artist does

    • I was born in Edmonton, Alberta and lived here until I was 6, when my family moved to the small community of Camrose, located one hour south east of Edmonton.  It was here where I learned to appreciate the quiet, open land, and listen to the stories my mother would tell about my great-grandparents and how hard they worked for their land.  During my first year at Red Deer College my mother married a dairy farmer from Stettler, and where I continued to live the farm life during summers at home. Growing up in the country and not knowing much about my great grandparents and why they choose to live in Alberta lead me to develop the Alberta Farm and Ranch Women project.  Since 2007 I have been taking photographs, painting portraits, and compiling sound interview/video work into an installation that will create discussion and awareness around issues of farming, community, identity, and culture.  Recently, I have begun to paint landscapes and through the TREX Traveling Art Program I taught landscape painting to junior high students.   
    • After three years at Red Deer College I attended the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary.  I received my Bachelor of Fine Art degree majoring in painting (1998) and in ceramics (1999).  After graduation I volunteered as a Gallery Coordinator at Untitled Art Society (until 2006) as well as curated group exhibitions for The Works Art & Design Festival in Edmonton.  I have exhibited in 8 solo exhibits in Alberta (one in France) and over 25 group shows across Alberta since 1996.  In 2007, I participated in a National Portrait Competition, and I was one of the winners in a farm photography contest sponsored by the Royal Bank.  In 2010, at the Red Deer and District Museum, I exhibited my project “Alberta Farm Women” - a portrait exhibit honoring today’s Farm Women of Central Alberta.  New works that included women from Northern and Southern Alberta for this project were exhibited in a group show at the Red Deer Museum in 2011.  Eight photographs from the project are currently travelling in the Alberta Foundation for the Arts/Alberta Art Gallery TREX program from September 2012 to 2014. I have curated, organized and participated in numerous exhibitions since 1995 and I was the Director of Programs and Marketing at The Works Art & Design Festival in Edmonton, Alberta from 2007 to July of 2012.  I am currently a Public Art Program Officer at the Edmonton Arts Council.
    • My family origins are French, Metis, British, Scottish and Norwegian.  My research into my family history indicates that my French and Metis roots began in Quebec, settling in the St. Anne, Manitoba area (my 3rd to 7th generation great grandparents).  My great grandparents, with British, Scottish, Norwegian roots, settled in Carnwood, Camrose, Arrowwood and Sundre, Alberta as well as Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.  I am very intrigued with geneology, and learning why people chose to live where they do.  My ‘Prairie Circus” and ‘Farm and Ranch Women’ series of artwork documents history, all of which can be quickly forgotten.  I currently live in the Avonmore area of Edmonton, feeding my interest in the history of the area, Edmonton and the people who live here. 
    updated 04/14
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