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.
Antoine Mountain is Dene, North American First Nations, originally from Rádeyı̨lı̨kóé (Fort Good Hope) in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Born to a very artistic family, he grew up around their crafts – sculpting, beading, sewing and even quillwork. Later, he forged his own visual practice through painting, attending art school in Toronto and learning abroad in Florence, Italy.
Antoine’s work explores the use of colour – how it is affected by light and how it affects the emotions of the viewer. True to the Dene way of life, his subjects are drawn from the landscapes and portraits of his home, and reflect the deep-rooted spiritualism of his cultural heritage.
Antoine has painted commissions for collectors around the world and is also known for his richly painted murals, which can be seen throughout the territory. Through these murals, Antoine has ensured the story of his people, their beliefs and ways of life, will never be forgotten among today’s youth. An avid writer, Antoine also pens his stories for posterity in magazines and newspapers and is working on a book titled, The Life and Times of a Mountain Dene Artist. He has travelled the world sharing his art and stories in collaboration with many other indigenous cultures.
Antoine graduated from the Ontario College of Arts and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and most recently, received a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University.