the riel deal

This one was personal. When Calgary artist Judy Anderson created this mask in 2016, she did it in honour of her youngest son, Riel, who, at age 13, believed that hockey was life. “This one brings me the most pride” Anderson called this luminous work, which she rendered from beads, moose hide, a goaltender’s mask and neck-guard, and an otter pelt. Earlier this year it figured in the exhibition Power Play: Hockey in Canadian Contemporary Art mounted by the Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario). “This piece was created to honour Riel,” you might have read if you’d been in Windsor to browse the signage, “demonstrate his importance, and make visible the respect he deserved as an Indigenous child who lived, breathed, and ate hockey. No longer a child whose life is dedicated to hockey, Riel has embraced other interests beyond hockey, although he remains a fan of the game —(Go Jets Go).”