Chief Lady Bird is an Anishinaabe (Potawatomi and Chippewa) artist from Rama First Nation with paternal ties to Moose Deer Point First Nation. She grew up on-reserve and is currently based in Toronto. Chief Lady Bird’s work exists at the crux of her experience as an Indigenous womyn, wherein critiques of Nationalism and Indigenous identity reclamation meet, resulting in imagery that empowers Indigenous peoples and challenges the lens through which Indigenous people are often viewed. She often creates collaborative murals that allow viewers to step into our worldviews for brief moments, to create dialogue that is imperative to reclaiming our cultural identities in a country that never saw our worth. Chief Lady Bird also works with woodlands style imagery, photography, digital media and beadwork.
Her current series of portraits uses “beaded glyphs” as fragments of made-up visual language that reference wampum belts, syllabics and petroglyphs as a way of understanding the loss of language and culture through Canada’s cultural genocide. These beaded glyphs convince the viewer that they mean something and create tension and frustration between the work and viewer, to emulate the frustration that many Indigenous nations feel who aren’t fluent in their traditional languages.