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2023 Expressions of Reclamation Artists

Tristan Wright

My name is Tristan Wright, I am a student at Emily Carr and next year I will be majoring in illustration. I am also a member of the Qayqayt First Nations Indian Band, which makes me one of the many contributors in my family who creates work that helps to rebuild our lost culture. For a good portion of my artistic journey, I have felt the pressure to produce work that replicates the Coast Salish art style, however that never represented who I am as a Native or person. Any work I create is indigenous because I am the one creating it, that alone makes me more confident to create work in a more diverse way. For most of my life I’ve been drawn to immersive stories and interesting characters which has motivated me to join that genre of work. I post my content online, ranging from original work, animated videos, or my most prominent theme which is fanart dedicated to my current interests. My art style itself is an amalgamation of different techniques I’ve picked up from artists I follow or content I consume. I consider myself a self-taught artist who was inspired by content online. I would say my art style is an anime style with a hint of semi-realistic features.

Instagram: @tsuyukai

Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes is an urban Indigenous youth in the City of Surrey and is from the Snuneymuxw Nation. He is an up-and-coming multi-hyphenate artist who is honing his skills in wood carving, digital art, shading and colouring, as well as some painting. 

Read more about Ryan Here

Claire Shannon-Akiwenzie

Claire Shannon-Akiwenzie (Anishinaabe/Irish) is a multidisciplinary artist, educator and hand drummer/singer residing on unceded Musqueam, Tsleil Waututh and Squamish territory in Vancouver, B.C. She is a proud member of the Chippewas of Nawash unceded First Nation in Neyaashiiningmiing, Ontario. Claire works predominantly in digital art and beadwork and is continuously learning to extend her practice through language, story, song, dance, and creating with traditional materials and technology. Claire has found art to be a tremendous catalyst for connection, healing and community-strengthening and seeks to share these gifts with others.

James Groening

James Groening is Cree from the Kahkewistahaw First Nation and a Woodland artist. Woodland Art explores the relationships between people, animals, and plants and is rich with spiritual imagery and symbolism. James’ work documents a journey of healing and growth, as he attempts to revitalize his cultural identity through art making and teaching others.

Squamish Canoe Family

Hailey Wallis

The rich textured tone of singer songwriter Hayley Wallis’ voice has an unmistakable confidence that is immediately recognizable. Hayley delivers a powerful emotional performance that evokes a response as dynamic as her vocal range. She is part of the Kitasoo/Xais’xais Nation, originally from Klemtu, a small isolated island located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. Hayley is well on her way to breaking into the scene with her debut single coffee cup, a relatable soulful pop anthem about mental health and reaching out for help.

Francis Baptiste

A washed-up, divorced, recovering alcoholic tries to balance being a single father and being a middle-aged musician. In 2022 Indigenous songwriter Francis Baptiste released his debut album, Sneqsilx (Family), an album that features songs sung in his native language Nsyilxcən [nah-silk-sen], the endangered language of the Syilx [see-ilks] people. The 10-song album was his effort to preserve and connect with his heritage. The chance to reconnect with his roots helped him through turbulent times.

Kung Jadee

Kung Jaadee (Roberta Kennedy) is a professional storyteller, educator and published author belonging to the X̱aayda (Haida),  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations. Her Haida name, Kung Jaadee, means ‘Moon Woman’ and was presented to her at her great uncle’s memorial feast by her cousin Crystal Robinson. Over the past 28 years, Kung Jaadee has performed traditional Haida legends, while also sharing vivid personal stories about her clan’s survival of the smallpox epidemic, and  the history and culture of her people. She has performed at hundreds of festivals, schools and Aboriginal celebrations across Canada. She is the author of  the popular children’s books, Raven’s Feast and Gifts from Raven (selected as a Local BC Book to Read), as well as curriculum textbooks, Haida Nation: Indigenous Communities in Canada and We Are Home. Her stories have also been published in several anthologies, magazines and online publications. Most recently, Kung Jaadee worked as the Vancouver Public Library’s Indigenous Storyteller in Residence.

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