Edmonton artist designs first-ever Indigenous showroom for IKEA

Artist Lance Cardinal in the IKEA showroom he helped design, meant to showcase a modern Indigenous family home. Les Knight / Global News

An Alberta-based artist has helped IKEA design its first-ever Indigenous showroom.

Lance Cardinal, who IKEA also partnered with to design a 40-foot mural at the Edmonton store earlier this year, worked to design the space.

Cardinal said he was attracted to the project because he believes the room will help to share culture in a way that is accessible to many.

“The most important thing we want people to feel or understand when they walk through the space is more about who we are as Indigenous people,” Cardinal said.

“Not only is it a great space for beautiful furniture… there’s also many teachings involved in this space.

“It’s showing what everyday life is for an Indigenous family.”

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Cardinal has worked as an artist in Alberta for over 25 years and has done a large variety of work in the region, including set and prop design, live performances, as well as painting, sculpture and drawing.

Read more: Indigenous artist chosen to paint mural at Edmonton’s IKEA store

The room features IKEA furniture, of course, but also cultural items like regalia, trapping supplies and more personal items like family photos and home movies from an actual Alberta family — from the Samson Cree Nation and Montana First Nation, in the Maskwacis region.

“Everything in the room in here that is Indigenous is from the family themselves,” Cardinal said.

“What really makes it unique is these are authentic pieces, they are here from the family to represent who [Indigenous people] are in a very positive way.”
Items from an actual Alberta family were used in the creation of an Indigenous IKEA Edmonton showroom. Les Knight / Global News
The Indigenous showroom at IKEA Edmonton. Les Knight / Global News

Cardinal is a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation in northern Alberta. He said he hopes other local businesses take note.

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“I think it’s really important to have spaces like this,” he said. “Especially here in Edmonton — that encourage people to understand Indigenous culture a little bit better.

“To have a place where many people of all nations can come into the space, learn something about Indigenous people, understand who we are a bit more — and maybe battle some of those stereotypes that people have about us and about the way that we live.

“Nobody has ever taken Indigenous culture and integrated it so beautifully into their space as IKEA has done. And I really hope other spaces look at what they’ve done here.”

The Indigenous showroom at IKEA Edmonton. Les Knight / Global News

IKEA remains open in Edmonton amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 25 per cent capacity limit.