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The Writing on the Wall

The Work of Joane Cardinal-Schubert

edited by Lindsey V. Sharman

contributions by Mike Schubert, Monique Westra, Alisdair MacRae, Tanya Harnett & Gerald McMaster

University of Calgary Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2017
General, Painting, Native American, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2017
    List Price

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Artist. Activist. Curator. Joane Cardinal-Schubert was a phenomenal talent. Her work recognizes the social and political ramifications of lived Indigenous experience, exposing truths about history, culture, and the contemporary world. She was a teacher and mentor, supporting those who struggle against the legacies of colonial history. She was an activist for Indigenous sovereignty, advocating for voices that go unheard.

Despite significant personal and professional successes and monumental contributions to the Calgary artistic community, Cardinal-Shubert remains under-recognized by a broad audience. This richly illustrated, intensely personal book celebrates her story with intimacy and insight

Combining personal recollection with art history, academic reading with anecdote and story, The Writing on the Wall is a crucial contribution to Indigenous and Canadian art history. Cardinal-Shubert’s work leads the conversation, embracing the places where the personal, the political, and the artistic meet.

About the authors

Lindsey Sharman is Curator at the Founders' Gallery, Military Museums, in Calgary.

Lindsey V. Sharman's profile page

Mike Schubert's profile page

Monique Westra has worked as a curator, writer and teacher for the past thirty years. She was art curator at the Glenbow Museum from 2002 to 2010, following more than a decade of teaching art history at Alberta College of Art and Design.

Monique Westra's profile page

Alisdair MacRae's profile page

Tanya Harnett's profile page

Gerald McMaster, PhD, is the Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. During his tenure as Curator of Contemporary Indian Art at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (1981-2000), he established the first Indian and Inuit gallery at the CMC. In 1992, he curated Indigena for the Canadian Museum of Man and co-authored the book Indigena: Contemporary Native Perspectives in Canadian Art. His publications include Reservation X (1998), Native Universe (2004) and Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World (2007). In 1995, he served as Canadian Commissioner and curated Edward Poitras's exhibition at the Venice Biennale. From 2000 to 2004, he was Deputy Assistant Director for Cultural Resources at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. At NMAI, he curated First American Art (2004) and New Tribe / New York (2005). He was awarded the Order of Canada (2007) and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2005.

Gerald McMaster's profile page


  • Winner, ARLIS Melva J. Dwyer Award
  • Winner, Bronze Medal, 2018 PubWest Design Awards - Jacket/Cover, Large
  • Short-listed, High Plains Book Award - Art & Photography

Editorial Reviews

The first essay by Mike Schubert, the artist's husband for over 40 years… sets the tone - the reader feels as if they are sitting by a fire and not in an art history seminar - and the rest of the contributors don't disappoint. Intimate anecdotes interweave with eye-opening insights into the artist's spiritual, political and artistic views…I finished this book with an eerie sense that I truly met, almost conversed with, a woman whose legacy deserves a place of honour in the annals of Canadian history. The Writing on the Wall is a fitting tribute to an artist whose contribution, like the vibrant colours in her paintings, will not fade.

- Agnieszka Matejka, AlbertaViews

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