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Expressions of Reclamation

Curated by Arts New West’s Indigenous Curator James Groening, Expressions of Reclamation features artistic presentations from Indigenous artists – including artist talks, performance art, seminars, live drawing/painting, collaborative activities, workshops, performances and more.

The community of New Westminster the opportunity to learn from Indigenous artists and witness how artists use their creativity and artistic expression to reclaim their identity and connect with who they are.

Summer 2024


recurring event

New West Craft Indigenous Market

The New West Craft Indigenous Market aims to bolster First Nations, Inuit, and Métis artists and small businesses by encouraging consumers to invest in Indigenous made art, goods, and services. By introducing the community to local Indigenous artisans and entrepreneurs, the event hopes to foster a connection through food, art, and craft and create relationship-building and learning opportunities.

The 2024 Indigenous Market will be taking place on Saturday, June 8.

Indigenous Curator

James Groening, Blue Sky

My art is a journey of healing and growth where I attempt to regain a sense of cultural understanding that was lost. I was born in the 60s and raised in a farm community, far removed
from any Native art, but interested in learning about my heritage. At age 24, I met my maternal
mother and told her I knew my Indian name, Blue Sky. She was surprised but said that Blue Sky was only the first part of my name and the second was lost in time. This is fitting for my life.
Lost in a time when things were hard for natives, and now, I am searching for my shadow, as the story goes.

I began learning about Native art and found that I liked the west coast style, and I bought a few
prints. I loved the hummingbird I bought and started drawing it and other things I have seen. After purchasing an original painting set by Mark Anthony Jacobson, I found that the Woodland School of Art was a whole new area of art closer to my ancestors.

Today, I make Woodland-style native art where I paint legends and whimsical wildlife on things I make like drums and an eagle head staff. It is very important to convey what I learn about my culture through legends and teachings because generations have lost so much information and
a sense of cultural identity. It is also easier to learn a complex truth through a cheerful medium like painting. For example, my work, Turtle Legend, teaches children where they live on Turtle Island in a way they can comprehend.

I seem to find a peaceful balance when doing art, which brings some relief in these hectic times. I hope to learn more and contribute to the art world by creating and teaching those who want to learn. I think this is the way forward for our cultural heritage to heal and grow.



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