“I wanted an image that celebrated the long-standing relationship between the Treaty 7 First Nations and the Calgary Stampede,” says Casey. “I saw Nikkole Heavy Shields dancing at the 2010 Indian Princess pageant and immediately knew what I wanted my first poster to capture the beauty, the elegance, the tradition, the life and the spirituality of her dance.”
The very first Calgary Stampede in 1912 included over 2,000 native people of the Treaty 7 First Nations who received special permission to gather off their reserves. The IndianVillage gathering has continued ever since and has remained an important opportunity for the Treaty 7 First Nations to reinforce, celebrate and share their cultures. The stunning image of an aboriginal dancer is meant to evoke the meaningful relationship between the Calgary Stampede and the Treaty 7 First Nations.
Casey said he was pleased to work with Zach who has displayed his work at the Stampede’s western art showcase continuously for 33 years. “I asked Vilem to create a painting that reflected the passion, pride and energy that I saw in Nikkole’s dance which is such a wonderful expression of First Nations’ culture.”
Zach’s oil paintings, sculptures and pastels have placed him among the elite of western artists. Earlier this year he was inducted into the Western Art Show Hall of Fame.
“The poster creation process was collaborative,” says Zach. “Like piecing together a puzzle, we created an image inspired by the dancer that captures the beauty of the tradition.”
Zach has captured the beauty and moment in this traditional dance in the 2011 Calgary Stampede poster.