Buffy Sainte-Marie

Pioneering digital artwork created by Buffy Sainte-Marie will be exhibited at the Penticton Art Gallery this summer.

And, surprisingly, it’s not art for which most people know Sainte-Marie, who was born in Canada and is of Cree descent.

The 80-year-old is also an award-winning singer-songwriter and outspoken Indigenous activist.

Sainte-Marie’s work was recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley and she also penned the 1983 hit, “Up Where We Belong,” which won an Oscar and Golden Globe for best original song.

It was also around that time she began experimenting with the first versions of Apple Paint on the earliest Macintosh computers.

“The technology was nothing like the digital production resources available today and was used primarily as a tool for marketing and graphic design, not creating fine art with emotional impact. Being void of prefabricated filters or options for multiple layers, the process of creating artful images required dexterity and patience,” the gallery said in a press release.

“Rising above the limitations of the software, she injected as much depth of tradition and attention to detail with pixels as one would with intricate beadwork or classic oils.

“Meticulously blending scanned images of her wet studio paintings, in-progress drawings and sketches with those of real fibers, feathers and beads, Buffy crafted these digital tapestries with the precision and care of a natural-born storyteller.”

Limited edition prints of Sainte-Marie’s visual work reside in permanent collections in the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, First Nations University and the Tucson Art Museum.

Her work has been exhibited at the Glenbow Museum, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Isaacs Gallery, the Walter Phillips Gallery, the Gallery for Contemporary and Indigenous Art , The Winnipeg Art Gallery and private collections throughout North America.

The exhibition runs July 3 through Sept. 11.

It marks an impressive follow-up to last summer’s exhibition of works by Bob Ross, former host of TV’s “The Joy of Painting.” That show, the first of its kind in Canada, drew people from across the country and produced lineups outside the gallery every day.