Joane Cardinal-Schubert was born in 1942 in Red Deer and attended the Alberta College of Art, 1962-64; 1966-67, studying, painting, printmaking, and multi-media. In 1973, Cardinal-Schubert was a BA student of the University of Alberta, transferring to the University of Calgary in 1973, graduating with a BFA in 1977.After the graduation, Cardinal-Schubert worked as assistant curator at the University of Calgary Art Gallery in 1978, and the Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, Alberta, from 1979 to 1985.
Cardinal-Schubert's painting and installation practice is prominent for its incisive evocation of contemporary First Nations experiences and condemnation of the imposition of Euro-American religious, educational and governmental systems upon Aboriginal people. Some of her projects have taken up to four years to complete.
For the past 20 years, her writing has been published internationally in art magazines, catalogues, and books. Cardinal-Schubert has worked professionally as a curator, an artist, a lecturer, and most recently a director of video and Native theatre.
In 2003, the artist was granted a Honourary Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary. A video in which she participated in as Director and Art Director/animator was shown at MOMA, NY, in the exhibition Walk with the Ancients as well as other international exhibitions. A retrospective of her work was organized by the FAB Art Gallery at the University of Alberta, Passage to Origins in 1993 and her retrospective Joane Cardinal-Schubert: Two Decades, organized by the Muttart Gallery in 1997, continued to tour nationally until after the year 2000. Also notable is her election to the Royal Canadian Academy in 1985 (received 1986) and the receipt of the Commemorative Medal of Canada in 1993 for her contribution to the Arts.
In 2007, Cardinal-Schubert was awarded the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation Award – Arts, presented to her at the Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton. In 2006, in recognition of Alberta’s Centennial, the Alberta Government gifted the painting “Song of My Dream, Bed Dance,” to the National Gallery of Canada. The same year she was awarded ACAD’s Board of Governors’ Alumni Award of Excellence in recognition for exceptional achievement in art and design. In 2005, she was a recipient of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal of Canada for her contributions to Canada and her community.
A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts since 1986, Joane Cardinal-Schubert was also a writer, curator, lecturer, poet and activist for First Nations artists and individuals engaged in the struggle for Native sovereignty.She has been a lobbyist for the Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry (SCANA) and was honoured in 2007 with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award.
For over twenty years she has been represented in Calgary by Masters Gallery. She is also represented across Canada by several other galleries such as The National gallery of Canada and The Canadian Museum of Civilization. She has had more than 26 solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe and numerous international touring group exhibitions. Her work is included in many corporate collections such as Shell Canada Limited, Bank of Montreal, Bank of America, Esso Resources, and Northern Telecom.