Judy Anderson is Nêhiyaw (Cree) from Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan, Treaty 4 territory and an Associate Professor of Canadian Indigenous Studio Art in the Department of Art at the University of Calgary. Anderson’s practice includes beadwork, installation, hand-made paper, painting, three-dimensional pieces, and, collaborative projects all of which are deeply personalwith a focus on issues of spirituality, family, colonialism and Indigenous epistemological and ontological traditions.

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Exploit Robe (Toying Around) (2012)

In our history, Indigenous men painted narrative and figurative scenes on smoked hide robes, recording great stories of incredible exploits in war, hunting, and love. Few make these robes anymore and lives of contemporary Indigenous men are very different from those of their ancestors.  However, Indigenous men continue to accomplish great deeds that need to be recognized and honoured. Exploit Robe (Toying Around), is a reproduction of Cruz’s first “burner” (a large and elaborate graffiti piece) created at twelve years of age, and recognizes the beginning of his journey as a graffiti artist.


Here the use of the term “toy,” acknowledges his inexperience as a writer while recognizing and honouring him, and the beginning of his journey as an artist and as a man.
Exploit Robe (Toying Around) (2012) beads on moose hide, 58” x 62”. Photo Credit: Cruz Anderson
Exploit Robe (Toying Around), detail. Photo Credit: Cruz Anderson
Exploit Robe (Toying Around) (2012) detail. Photo Credit: Leah Snyder
Exploit Robe (Toying Around), installed at La Guilde, Montréal for “Beading Now!”. Photo Credit: Leah Snyder