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Indigenous Arts & Stories - Maskasina


2016 - Art Winner

Jenna McGuire

Lion's Head, ON
Historic Saugeen Métis
Age 28

Author's Statement

I created this painting to celebrate my love and passion for traditional Métis skills. I am proud of how perfectly Métis art forms capture our history and nature. Bright patterns are a visual expression of the joys of life and First Nations and European styling and knowledge are both celebrated.
I chose to include a black bordered sash which honours the “Temps noir”, the period of time for the Métis after the resistance, in which Métis culture was often oppressed and in some cases forgotten. Far from the Red River, my Great Lakes Métis community lost much of its history and culture during this time, and is working hard to regain it. Traditional art forms such as beading and moccasin making help keep our culture alive.
I included a photo transfer of a Métis grandmother from my community wearing her moccasins. I cherish this image because even though she lived over a century ago, we are still making and wearing moccasins today. The moccasins in this painting have a modern styling with new quilt fabric and unusual beadwork patterns and colours, as I wanted to demonstrate that this is a living, evolving art, not a historic one that is outmoded.
I once heard a Ukrainian story of how as long as someone keeps writing pysanky (making Ukrainian eggs) the world will keep turning. I feel the same way about Métis culture, as long we keep beading, our world will still turn. I hope to one day become a professional illustrator and use my skills to capture the details of traditional Métis skills and knowledge for teaching and practical use (how-to instructions for traditional crafts, medicine plant identification, recreations of historic moments and events, visual guides to teachings, etc.). I also wish to create art that simply inspires others and hopefully, captures the Métis spirit.