This past weekend, MUSKRAT Magazine visited the One of A Kind Spring Show (OOAK), now in its 39th year. The highlight was the Thunderbird Marketplace, the first ever Indigenous themed marketplace at the OOAK in their history. Presented and produced by Thunderbird Aboriginal Arts, Culture and Entrepreneur Centre in association with Denise Bolduc of Bullduke Productions, and sponsored by Miziwe Biik, the marketplace was a sure hit with patrons of the show . There were twelve Indigenous artists from various First Nations showcasing unique and stunningly beautiful art, jewelry, crafts and fashion designs.
MEET THE ARTISTS:
Jay Bell Redbird – Anishinaabe
“Growing up, I was influenced by world-renowned artists Jackson Beardy, Norval Morrisseau, Leland Bell (Uncle) and my father, Duke Redbird. I learned how to express and share Aboriginal language, history and the beauty of our culture in my work. I continue to learn and find my own voice in my paintings, which are vibrant in stories, teachings and meanings.”
Jimson Bowler – Anishinaabe
Jimson looks upon sculpture as a constant confrontation with the self. His connection is to this inner core through hours entirely plunged in thought with assemblage. The result is everything he has experienced, seen and absorbed. The coalescence of flow with traditional and modern materials left off from dominant society. He hopes to nourish you and seek dialogue.
Ryan Hill – Mohawk
“I received a knife and sharpening stone at the age of 7, and told the stories of my Grandfather, the woodcarver. At 9 years old, I was introduced to stone carving and sold my first piece at the age of 15. My work now includes stone, wood, and ice carving the largest piece weighing 315 lbs.”
Elizabeth Doxtater – Kanienkehaka/ Lenape
Elizabeth’s paintings, beadwork and dioramas highlight traditional Haudenosaunee faceless cornhusk figures and celebrate this distinct art form by presenting stories and teachings as ‘faceless expressions’. Elizabeth believes it is imperative that ancient Indigenous art mediums such as cornhusk sculpting allows the Haudenosaunee people to celebrate, express and share their stories with the world.
Erika A. Iserhoff – Omushkego/Eeyou James Bay Cree
Erika is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer whose work bridges Indigenous material culture with contemporary approaches to creating art and designs. She has mentored with senior artist Lucy Linklater, and is a graduate of the Fashion Technologies Program at George Brown College and the Ontario College of Arts & Design University.
Alana McLeod – Cree/Ojibwe/Scottish
Combining her loves of photography and textiles, Alana naturally uses imagery from her heritage and also from the Northern Ontario landscape to create textile-based art. Alana is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Applied Photography and Textile Design programs.
Mike Ormsby – Ojibwe Anishinaabe
Mentored by the late Ojibwe artist Norman Knott, Mike primarily works in acrylic on canvas and carves in antler as well as stone. W’ DAE B’ WAE is his Anishinaabe name meaning “he or she telling the truth’. Mike hopes his art speaks to truth, telling the stories of the Anishinaabe, sharing its culture and traditions.
Sage Paul – Dene/Hungarian/British
Contemporary, culturally conscious design. Sage Paul creates women’s wear that is refined and edgy. Sage’s philosophy conceptualizes the clash of personal experience in culture, sub-culture and tradition, expressed in attention to detail. Based out of Toronto, Sage Paul launched in 2011 with her first “End of Summer” collection.
Mary Pheasant – Odawa
Since childhood, I have always been involved within the world of art and learned from my mother and grandmother. For the past 30 years my family and I have run ‘Pheasant Originals’. Our work features the unique Woodland style art of “Maaniinhs” and “Mystikal Creations”. Materials include natural and commercial products to create accessories and visual art.
Naomi Smith – Anishinaabe
Naomi’s work embraces ancestral designs in the form of bags, adornment and accessories. Naomi honours the work of her Ancestors while using an innovative, modern approach to her handmade and unique pieces. For over 20 years Naomi has created or taught beadwork, moose hair embroidery and quill work, always valuing these sacred materials throughout her creative process.
Louise Solomon – Ojibwe
Louise creates pieces of jewelry that are edgy and mainstream but still embody the spiritual and cultural values of her Ojibwe traditions. Louise has a Bachelor of Art from the University of Guelph and is a graduate of the Jewellery Arts program at George Brown College. Her jewelry is edgy, Native Canadian, high-end art.
Tracy Toulouse – Ojibwe
“I am identifiably a Native Person”. I came to really understand my purpose as an artist; I am IDENTIFYING A PEOPLE. We are still here, making our presence known and heard as artists, musicians, writers, dancers and crafters. Our stories are creating a beautiful dancing wind or Spirit to be carried forward and connect us to everything and each other.