The Calgary Stampede will ride again in 2021, and a young woman’s artwork symbolizing resiliency and optimism has been chosen to represent the annual event on next year’s poster.
Lexi Hilderman’s artwork features a young Indigenous dancer with rainbow ribbons flowing from her regalia standing in front of a passing storm cloud.
“Not only is this a striking image, it tells an extremely important story about the Stampede and our community at this time,” said Steve McDonough from the Calgary Stampede board of directors in a news release.
“Together we are weathering a significant storm, and it’s important to find the silver linings and optimism in what we are experiencing and I believe Lexi has captured that in her painting.”
Though the 2020 Stampede was cancelled due to COVID-19, officials confirmed Tuesday they are planning to welcome visitors back to the annual 10-day celebration next year, saying they’re preparing to adapt to all public health orders to do so safely.
“We’re very excited to take this first step in sharing the poster,” McDonough said. “While we don’t have all the details about Stampede 2021 at this time, what we can tell you is that we are here for our community when they are ready to ride again.”
Tickets for the 2021 Calgary Stampede are on sale at calgarystampede.com with flexible and fully-refundable options.
Inspiration for the artwork came from Siksika woman, artist says
Hilderman said her winning artwork was inspired by an image of Katari Righthand from the Siksika First Nation.
“I was drawn to her story and it became important for me to learn about her culture and to understand how she feels when she’s dancing,” Hilderman said.
Hilderman developed a relationship with Righthand and learned she was given the name Nààpiwa otó piim Akikowan (Rainbow Girl) in 2013 following the southern Alberta floods, representing the hope that comes after a storm.
Hilderman decided to incorporate that into her design.
“I wanted to show her standing strong, looking forward with determination,” she said. “To me, this image is about optimism, and also a representation of youth carrying on their legacy and the legacy of the Calgary Stampede’s celebration of the arts, culture and community.”
The Stampede asked those entering the 2021 youth poster competition to incorporate into their artwork their impressions on what the event means to them personally and to the community.
As the winning artist for 2021, Lexi Hilderman has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship and her artwork.