Banff Centre is creating space for Indigenous voices.
Reneltta Arluk became an artist as an act of cultural resurgence. She wanted to be able to tell Indigenous stories from an Indigenous perspective – preserving tradition while creating new culture within her community. This led her to the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto when she was just 19, then onto the University of Alberta, where she became the first Indigenous woman to graduate from their BFA acting program.
After graduating, Reneltta did a seven-week residency at Banff Centre. She vividly recalls the energy when she arrived and the impact that Banff Centre had on her – most notably, being exposed to so many different perspectives and types of art, giving her a fresh view on her own work.
I collaborated with over half the artists in my residency, and I still collaborate with some of them today.
Now, as Banff Centre's Director of Indigenous Arts, Reneltta's role has changed, but her goal remains the same. She's still focused on fostering Indigenous culture through storytelling, only now she's doing it by building a community that supports Indigenous artists, helping them discover their voice and turn their ideas into reality.
When people come with their ideas, we just find the best way that we can to support them. And that is what I love about it.
As for the future of Indigenous arts programs at Banff Centre, Reneltta has a big vision - she wants to create a strong Indigenous voice on a community and global level.
But she's happy to do so one artist at a time.
Getting to know the artists and work with them is the best part of my job.