"Art is a way for me to give voice to my ancestors' connection to the land, their suffering, their pride, and beauty as a nation. I lay down my tobacco and ask my ancestors for guidance, love, and support to create. Some of my pieces have bold, bright colors reflecting the beauty of nature, while others are dark, dramatic, and sometimes controversial.
The paintings help me connect to the spirits around me and allow me to find some peace and healing within myself. Painting, for me, is another way to bring awareness to the dark chapter of Canada's First Nation people. It is estimated that over 4,000 Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse individuals have been murdered or missing in the last three decades. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a mother, sister, auntie, or loved one. Or when dealing with the police, being subjected to discrimination and racism. Your loved one is automatically labeled as someone who has lived as "high risk," or it's suggested that they are just partying. You are re-victimized and treated like your loved one's life is not important enough to be a priority. You can never have closure. You will always have a feeling of hopelessness and experience a lifetime of unresolved loss and grief. Your loved one is just another faceless statistic.
In this painting, the colour red dominates. The red dress and shirt symbolize the Indigenous women and gender-diverse individuals who have been murdered or are missing. The red hand symbolizes solidarity, and we will be silenced no more. The bear spirit is the protector. She is a strong source of support in times of difficulty. She guides you to be a leader. Her spirit may ask us to accept an authoritative role, not only directing our own lives but guiding others. Think of the height and weight of the bear - her presence demands respect. This is not the time to be silent, but rather a time to challenge, engage, educate and inspire! She is feared and admired for her courage. She stands tall, facing the threat of harm without fear. She invokes power, inner strength, fearlessness, and healing as she holds the woman in the red dress. May we all be bears in these times of reconciliation."
Size: 24x48 in | 60.9x121.9 cm
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas, 1.75 stretched Canvas border
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Artterra's headquarters are located in Toronto, which is situated on the traditional territory of many Indigenous nations, including the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. We recognize and honor the enduring presence and contributions of the Indigenous peoples and their languages, cultures, and histories, and are committed to learning from and working with them towards mutual understanding and respect. As a business that represents artists from all over current Canada, we acknowledge that we live, work, and play on the unceded territories of Indigenous peoples across this land. We remain committed to recognizing their sovereignty, respecting their rights, and supporting their ongoing efforts towards reconciliation.
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