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Indigenous Arts & Stories - Mihkwakanihkan


2014 - Art Winner

Mandy Littlechild

Maskwacis, Alberta, AB
Age 17

Author's Statement

In my piece I tried to incorporate a surrealistic feel to my work while still sticking to the theme. I wanted to try and capture a feeling of loneliness and melancholy, for my theme I decided to go with how I come from a place that's had a string of suicides and many cases of domestic violence mostly affected by aboriginal women in my community and how it has had a lot of psychological effect on everyone in some way, as unfortunate as it is it is daily life on reserves nowadays. I believe that we should bring more light to these issues so that we can do more to try to prevent them from happening, such as have more youth programs as the youth is the future and domestic abuse does have an affect on the children involved as well. My only hope is that I managed to capture this theme with this piece that I did.

I titled the piece Mihkwakanihkan which is the Cree word for Mask/imitation face because I wanted to create a piece that reflected the many "masks" aboriginal women often wear when going through daily lives, hiding their true feelings behind facades. I tried to make her expressions and faces slightly different from the last and I also chose to leave her eyes empty to make it have a more dark/uneasy feeling to the piece. I haven't use paint in a very long time/I was kind of unfamiliar with it so I did a lot of experimenting with this piece as I've used both Acrylic Paints and Prisma colour markers for lining. I was mostly inspired by traditional Ukiyo-e wood block paintings and the artists use of lines and patterns, as well as artists like Audrey Kawasaki and Takato Yamamoto. I had a lot of encouragement from family members and friends for this piece which helped in motivating me to actually finish as I have never entered a contest before.