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KATHLEEN CHARLEBOIS

Miner and News
Thursday, May 18, 2017 6:12:40 EDT PMArt day at Kiizhik

Grade 7 and 8 students and teachers from on-reserve schools in Bimose Tribal Council member communities spent Tuesday, May 16 at Kiizhik School for an all-day art workshop led by well-known Indigenous artists. Here, workshop participants add their own designs to acrylic artwork in a session led by artist Patrick Hunter.

Destiny Seymour, an Anishinaabe interior designer turned textile artist from Winnipeg, said her research into local Indigenous patterns from pottery and bone tools happened by luck and chance.

She said the biggest challenge she had when working as an interior designer was finding fabrics and products that showcased and respected Indigenous culture. Then, a friend who worked as an archeologist and curator at the Manitoba Museum showed her boxes of pottery shards that were more than 3,000 years old.

“This is our identity, this is something my ancestors did,” Seymour said. She started to sketch the patterns, then learned how to silk-screen and started her own textile company, Indigo Arrows, last year.

On Tuesday, Seymour was leading a block printing workshop for students so they could create their own patterns and designs. She was one of five Indigenous artists who led all-day art workshops at Kiizhik School for Grade 7 and 8 students from on-reserve schools in Bimose Tribal Council member communities on May 16.

The other artists included woodland acrylic painter Patrick Hunter and David Disbrowe, artist John Paul Lavand and soapstone carver Doug Little.

Andy Graham, the director of education for Bimose Tribal Council, said the goal of the workshop was to introduce art to the students “so they see it as an opportunity to learn with an artist in a longer kind of workshop session rather than 10, 15 minutes here and there.”

“They get to select one artist they work with all day and produce something that they can share with the school, they can share with friends or they can take home,” he said.

In the acrylic painting workshop led by Hunter, 12-year-old Corban Crow was adding details to his canvas. “This is a little night sky scene with the horizon,” he said. “It’s a little picture over the water.”

Crow added that art was something he always enjoyed doing and he said he’ll try to keep at it.

Hunter, who is originally from Red Lake and now lives in Toronto, said the event was “probably one of the coolest conferences I’ve been to” and said he wished he’d had something similar when he was growing up.

He said he took the plunge to paint full-time three years ago and that it’s important for the youth to see role models who have turned their artistic passion into a successful career.

For Seymour, art is also about having that connection to culture. “It’s about having pride in your culture,” she said. “It’s a beautiful history that we have, and I think I didn’t see that part of it, like the pottery part, until I got to visit with my friend, and now I’m just trying to bring it out.”

KCharlebois@postmedia.com

News Article pulled from Daily Miner & News