Niigaan: In Conversation would be very grateful if you would consider showing your support by participating in the silent auction at our Winter Gala and Live Podcast with Red Man Laughing. Funds raised will go towards developing workshops that respond to community needs and current events, assisting and supporting other grassroots educational initiatives, and organizing three more flagship events in 2014. We also want to continue releasing and distributing our video and audio of past events so that other communities can access and use the material.
We will also expand on the work that we are doing. Right now, we are developing a new project with other partners around concepts of community and culturally-based responses to violence, abuse and missing and murdered women. We also want to work with partners to develop land-based workshops to reconnect people can with their land, teachings and traditions. The silent auction will help us contribute more to our community.
We will share the proceeds of the silent auction with Christi Belcourt’s Walking With Our Sisters project. It has been inspirational to see the wide level of international community support of a grassroots initiative. Christi Belcourt has been a Niigaan supporter from the beginning. She allowed us the use of her artwork in Niigaan posters, our logo comes from her art and she donated piece to the silent auction. The work of the WWOS project also reflects the values of what we have been trying to promote. Particularly what we have seen as a cultural resurgence – the effects of people coming together to learn how to bead and creating the vamps that recognize and honour the women we have lost who are missing or have been murdered. Christi has integrated ceremony and artistic practice to build relationships and community.
Current Auction Items:
Christi Belcourt is a Metis visual artist with a deep respect for the traditions and knowledge of her people. The majority of her work explores and celebrates the beauty of the natural world. Author of Medicines To Help Us (Gabriel Dumont Institute, 2007), Beadwork (Ningwakwe Learning Press, 2010) Christi has won recognition for her fine artistry through numerous exhibitions. Her work has been commissioned by the Gabriel Dumont Institute (Saskatoon), the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Centre for Traditional Knowledge & Museum of Nature (Ottawa), the Indian and Inuit Art Collection (Hull) and is found in the permanent collections of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and Canadian Museum of Civilization, First People’s Hall. Christi is a past recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Chalmers Family Fund and the Métis Nation of Ontario. She has been studying traditional plants and plant uses for numerous years.
Regarded as a ‘Vanguard’ for his piece 1884/1951 in How Soon Is Now? (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2009), Sonny Assu continues to push the boundaries of contemporary art by challenging the perception of Indigenous art. Assu merges Indigenous iconography with the aesthetics of popular culture to challenge the social and historical values placed upon both. An exploration of his mixed ancestry, his work appropriates or transforms items of consumer and popular culture to trace the lineage of his own personal life. Interested in ideas around Indigenous issues and rights, branding and new technologies, he works across many boundaries and disciplines and in doing so, reveals a ravishing oeuvre that speaks to many. Assu’s work has been featured in several solo and group exhibits over the past years, notably Don’t Stop Me Now! and Comic Relief at the National Gallery of Canada, Beat Nation and How Soon is Now? at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Changing Hands: Art With Reservation Part 2 at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.
His work has been accepted into the National Gallery of Canada, the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC and in various other public and private collections across Canada and the United States.
Sonny is Liǥwildaʼxw of the We Wai Kai First Nation (Cape Mudge). He graduated from the Emily Carr University in 2002. He received the BC Creative Achievement Award in First Nations art in 2011 and was long-listed for the 10th annual Sobey Art Award in 2012. He currently lives and works in Montreal.
Jaime Koebel is a Métis Artist & Indigenous Arts Activator from Lac La Biche, Alberta. Jaime draws images of plant, animal & insect life with ink on animal skins. She also creates fish scale art & is a Métis cultural dancer. In 2009, Jaime was invited on a State visit with former Governor General Michaëlle Jean to Guatemala, Mexico & Costa Rica. Her passion is to educate social, political & cultural issues through Indigenous Art.
Jason Mullins is a member of the Bird Clan from the Cherokee Nation. He was born and raised in the Bronx, New York where his family had relocated from Kentucky in the 1950’s. Surrounded by a family of traditional artists, which included carving, sewing, bead work, painting and the culinary arts, they inspired him to find his own style and express his artistic vision.
Shady Hafez is an Algonquin/Syrian from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. Born and raised in Ottawa he currently attends Carleton University completing a double major in Canadian Studies and Law with a minor in Indigenous Studies. He specializes in traditional art forms such as beadwork, quillwork, bustle making, regalia making, rawhide paintings and sewing. He is also a mens traditional dancer who travels across Indian country every year competing at Powwows. Shady has also been recognized for his creative writing with his short story “change of the season” having been recognized as one of the top ten stories in the national Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge. Shady’s artistic aspiration is to learn and master traditional art forms so that he may pass them on to younger generations, in that those art forms may not be lost.