By Lorne Julien
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© 2018 · Wabanaki Artist Collective.
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From Mi’gmaq descent and originally from the region of Listuguj, Quebec, Valerie Jean has attended the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design from 2008 to 2012. In the end she has received a Foundation Visual Arts Certificate in 2009, a Diploma of Fine Crafts and Applied Design specializing in Ceramics in 2011 and a Graduate Studies Certificate in 2012.
Since graduation she had worked at NBCCD as an instructor for the Aboriginal Visual Arts program teaching Traditional Aboriginal Pottery and as a night course ceramic instructor in the Life-Long Learning with an Artistic Purpose (LEAP) located at NBCCD as well. Valerie developed and implemented course curriculums that included hand building traditional methods such as coiling locally dug clay, and traditional methods of texturing/decorating and firing techniques of Atlantic Canada Aboriginals.
As a production potter for Right Off the Batt Pottery (Island Stoneware) in Prince Edward Island in 2012, she produced table and kitchenware by potters’ wheel and hand building and facilitated workshops on how to hand build table and kitchenware pottery.
She is currently living in French Village-York County, New Brunswick. Where she runs her company SISGU Designs that provides Mi’gmaq inspired functional pottery, smoke fired clay jewellery, inspirational masks and offers hands-on workshops. Valerie has always been interested in art even from a young age. Clay is her most cherished medium.
“Working with clay there are many directions you can take and the sky’s your limit.”
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Born and raised in Listuguj, Quebec on the shores of the Restigouche River, Tracey holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work at St. Thomas University and a Masters of Social Work from Wilfred Laurier University.
Tracey’s talent found expression as a founding member of Pugwalesg, a Mi’gmaq women’s hand drum group. Tracey’s career in painting was launched as a therapeutic outlet, such as painting cartoon characters for her grandchildren. Upon sharing her work on social media Tracey began receiving requests for abstract paintings. Unsure at first of her painting ability she took on the challenge and much to her surprise she pulled it off! Now fueled with confidence Tracey began creating her own Mi’gmaq designs.
Tracey’s artwork reflects much of her own journey in life and she believes that everyone is on their own journey looking to better their lives and to put everything they have experienced into retrospect. For this reason she does not believe in assigning a story to her art. “If someone becomes attracted to my art it’s because there’s something about their own journey in life that drew them to it. My art now becomes their story!”
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A contemporary artist of Mi’k maq and Irish decent, Tara draws on the common threads of her ancestors to bring balance and peace to her inner being ,which is infused into her silk paintings and porcupine quillwork. In 1999 she began attending the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, where she received her Certificate of Native Art Study and Fine Craft Diploma in Surface Design, then merging these teachings and concepts in a year of Independent study, going on to obtain an Aboriginal Creation grant from Artsnb in 2003 to build a body of work inspired by the Mi’k maq Petroglyphs of Kejimakoojik NS. Her work has been featured on APTN’s Wabaanakik documentary series, and her pieces are scattered from Hawaii to Africa, Germany to the Middle East. She has been in countless exhibits including one at Harbourfront Centre in downtown Toronto and the 4 Winds one Breath Gallery in Rhode Island, she was the showcase artist at the Prismatic Arts Festival in Dartmouth NS in 2015 and has taught her craft in various workshops throughout Atlantic Canada. Tara resides in Elsipogtog First Nation yet continues to produce work at her studio in downtown Fredericton, when possible. Her future plans include an Artist in Residence stent in Ireland and creating an Atlantic Canadian Aboriginal Arts Festival. Along with continuing to channel her spiritual journey into beautiful spectacles of visual offerings to the world, with peace, love and gratitude.
My art is my spiritual path, my personal journey to healing, it is my visual prayer to the world.
With a heart filled with gratitude and humility, I dedicate myself to this sacred gift I have been given, and hope that through it, I can help others find their inner light.
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Nestooitasiap, maoi amgoes nin pentatooaneg napooigigen, apsegilap na tojo, notjag, oesooatogol engatel ag penteoatogol elsitasi, ag telimit alasi ala eteg oapeg oigatigen sagangateg, ag migooitetem tan telnogep na pent, etel teoalgiag entojemjijg, gesatempa na. Pana emset enpemsagiagamel ogonisgotegel, notjag penteooatasigel ognapooigigen paseg, ag tan tegen gesgagal……na nineoel. Maoi oltasi gisgog teloai, ag nin gegonman napooigigen acrylictog, mimel ag nosataganel, gagapitgel gigjo tan oelapemgag ag natalogoetag. ………….na notjag Pelip Youngog.
I can remember my first painting, when I was a little girl my father had painted the bottoms of my feet then instructed me to walk on this white paper. I remember the feeling of the paint oozing through my toes. I loved it. Most of my walls are covered with his artwork but something was missing…..my own. I am happy to say I have artwork in acrylics, oils and charcoal hanging next to my favorite artist. …………my father Phillip Young.
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Growing up in Tobique First Nation, New Brunswick, Natalie began as a visual artist, inspired by ceremonial teachings, language and surroundings. The roots of her painting and designs came from the traditional motifs that she would see on regalia and birch bark etching as a child. Painting is a way of waking up sleeping teachings of her Wolastoq People that she felt needed to be remembered-but now she feels that the stories need be louder than her painting can speak. Natalie is currently an artist in residence at Theatre New Brunswick working on her first play “Finding Wolastoq Voice” which will also include original music created by the artist. Although today, Natalie is exploring with performance based art she will always continue to paint and navigate creativity through other mediums of expression. She has a passion for doing public commissioned art work that share the stories of the Wolastoq People. Natalie is a storyteller, and she believes her purpose is to share the stories of First People of the lands and waters of New Brunswick for the history to be remembered-for the tradition and culture to continue and for the relationship with all we share lands with to better and to grow in unity.
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A First Nation Artist of Mi’kmaq and Wampanoag descent, Nancy was raised in Mashpee, Massachuttes where her father was the grand chief of the Wampanoag nation and after art school decide to move to her mothers reserve in Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia to better understand her Mi’kmaq heritage.
She has always been involved in art her whole life, beginning as a small child tradi- tional dancing and making her own regalia and beadwork. She eventually went to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico to study photography and traditional pottery. After graduating she moved to Nova Scotia and studied for a year at NSCAD taking courses like weaving, jewellery making, photography and pottery.
She has run her own craft business focusing on pottery and beadwork, selling both wholesale and retail for the last 20 years. She enjoys natural themes and using traditional techniques in her art forms. Her pottery is stone polished and smoke fired and incorporates the aromatic strands of sweetgrass used for purification in First nation cultures.
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A visual-artist from Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, my artwork focuses on political and cultural issues in the Indigenous communities of Canada. As a First Nations student and since leaving my reserve and coming to university to pursue my education, I experienced what I can only describe as: culture shock. Being away from home was making me think that I was losing connection with who I am as an Indigenous person. This feeling has motivated me to make art about Canada’s colonial history and it’s impacts on First Nations people because I wasn’t taught the truth in school and I have the ability to express my knowledge through my art. I am interested in educating others through the presentation of my work. I engage in a variety of subjects that have impacted Indigenous people, such as: the Idle No More movement, Residential Schools and the Indian Act. Other influences have been my people, my nation, my reserve, and my interest in politics and traditional practices. My main focuses are painting and printmaking, using different materials between projects. I enjoy combining traditional art practices, such as beadwork and traditional dance, with contemporary art practices. My overall vision is to challenge ignorance because discrimination and racism stems from misunderstanding and misconceptions. it’s important for me that my voice becomes part of the conversation on Canada’s colonial history.
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Wolastoqiyik Visual Artist
Charlie Gaffney holds both a Masters in Education, Bachelors of Education from the University of New Brunswick and a Bachelor of Arts degree for St. Thomas University. His current studio practice combines mixed media techniques that are applied to his art works that reflects a sensitivity and knowledge of Aboriginal Culture. He’s been the recipient of Creation grants from the Canada Council and the New Brunswick Arts Board for his Aboriginal Mask and Paddle creations. His artwork is represented in private and Canadian Government collections also, throughout Asia, Australia, England and the USA.
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