I am Dene, North American First Nations, originally from Radelie Koe/Fort Good Hope, of the Dene Nation, in northern Canada. I believe that Mother Nature is the single greatest artist of them all. I was born on the land, and I see this for myself. Generations of native people know this, and we retain an abiding love for our land and country. This is the root of all of my work.
I come from a very artistic family and all of my immediate close relatives are involved in one form of artistic expression or another – sculpting, beading, sewing and even quillwork. In the early days, the woodland painters inspired me. I had no paper or pencil on the land, so I drew on blocks of wood using charcoal from the fire.
Painting is a relatively new medium for any Dene Artist, so I forged my own way with my visual practice. I eventually went to art school in the 70’s, in Toronto, and then back again in 2007, with some time in Florence, Italy.
I like to explore the use of colour – how it is affected by light and how it affects the emotional side of the viewer. I paint a variety of subjects from landscapes and portraits, to our Dene way of life. I also explore my faith in Native American cultural. There is a deep-rooted spiritualism that I am driven to depict.
The colours in the North have been a major theme in my artwork. It is perhaps curious that my impressionistic style should come from an old world European influence. Dene believe in reincarnation and I certainly do consider that I have somehow psychically inherited this desire to do my work in a combination impressionistic/realist manner.
My original intention of making art was to help ensure that our Youth would remember who we are as Dene, through our various depictions taken from our stories, our beliefs and our ways. I have painted many murals as a means of conversation and connection. I enjoy teaching cultural workshops and school presentations. I also work on private commissions, mainly for collectors of First Nations Art as well as for various cultural and social events.
Most recently, I fulfilled my dream of attending and graduating from the Ontario College of Arts and Design in Toronto, Ontario. My goal is now to continue with this schooling to eventually earn of Doctorate of Fine Arts. It is great honour to be amongst peers in a purely artistic community.