2021 UAAC Lifetime Achievement Award: Sherry Farrell Racette
Sherry Farrell Racette is an interdisciplinary scholar with an active arts, research, and curatorial practice. Her work is grounded in story: stories of people, stories objects tell, painting stories, telling stories, and finding stories. She is committed to Indigenous ways of knowing and is noted for her mentorship and support of Indigenous scholars and artists across Canada. Farrell Racette has done extensive work in archives and museum collections with an emphasis on retrieving women’s voices, Indigenous histories, and recovering aesthetic knowledge and objects. Her writing can be found in publications such as History of Photography, Art Journal, Canadian Journal of Art History, and Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies. She has an active curatorial practice, which includes the forthcoming exhibit Kwaata-nihtaawakihk – A Hard birth at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (2022), co-curated with Cathy Mattes, in celebration of the Métis nation’s role in founding Manitoba. She is a children’s book illustrator and has collaborated with noted authors Maria Campbell, Ruby Slipperjack, Freda Ahenakew and Wilfred Burton. Primarily a painter and textile artist, beadwork is increasingly important in her artistic practice, creative research, and pedagogy. She is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts, Faculty of Media, Art and Performance at the University of Regina.
Sherry Farrell Racette was born in Manitoba, and is of Metis and Algonquin heritage and a member of the Timiskaming First Nation (Quebec). She studied at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg), receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts (1974) and a certificate in Education (1975), before completing graduate studies in Education in Regina (1988). Farrell Racette later received a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba in the Interdisciplinary Program in Anthropology, History and Native Studies (2004). Farrell Racette also had an extensive career in Saskatchewan education, working at SUNTEP Regina (GDI), First Nations University of Canada, and the University of Regina. Prior to her current appointment, she was cross-appointed to the Departments of Native Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Manitoba. Farrell Racette has been active within Saskatchewan's art community, serving as a board member and advisor to the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Sakewewak First Nations Artists' Collective, the Mackenzie Art Gallery, and the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation. She has also served on the board of Urban Shaman Gallery, the ACC (Aboriginal Curatorial Collective) now Indigenous Curatorial Collective, and the Visual Arts Advisory Committee of the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2016–2017, Sherry was a distinguished Visiting Indigenous Faculty Fellow, Jackman Humanities Institute, at the University of Toronto/Massey College Senior Resident Scholar. In 2009–2010, she was the Ann Ray Fellow at the School for Advanced Research—a nine-month scholar residency in Santa Fe, New Mexico.