First Nations Art 2016 & Salvage Anthropology

Posted 16/05/26 in NEWS

On Friday May 27 at 7PM, two new art exhibitions opened. The 41st edition of First Nations Art and Salvage Antrhopology. First Nations Art is one of the longest running annual juried art exhibitons of First Nations Art in the country. We are also pleased to present the inagural showing of Salvage Anthropology by artist Jennifer Lickers.  What makes First Nations Art unique is the wide diversity of works that are submitted each year.  It is a reaffirmation that the subject matter, materials, mediums and intent of these works is broad in scope, offering unique and needed perspectives.  The opening reception also featured the musical talents of Melody McKiver.  Please note, many of the art work presented in First Nations Art exhibition is also for sale.  Please see the following biographies for more information about the artists featured in the exhibitions.



Through her work Jennifer Lickers explores her biracial identity. Born in Windsor, raised in Detroit with her summers spent on Six Nations reserve, she has always questioned her identity and what it meant to be biracial. In her work she explores her identity of growing up in two cultures separated by two countries. Currently, she is a MFA candidate at Eastern Michigan University where she graduates in December 2016. Jennifer has spent her time at Eastern exploring history from the Native perceptive in contrast to present day life. Her goal in her work is to change perceptions on stereotypical beliefs of indigenous people and create dialogue about race, culture and identity.

Artist Statement:

Salvage Anthropology was a term coined for the justification of Euro- Americans to take possession of First Nations artifacts and document the “vanishing race”. Many people believed First Nations people were becoming extinct through illness, war and assimilation. I am questioning the vanishing race theory while exploring my own identity and its relationship to historical and contemporary life.


FIRST NATIONS ART 2016 - Biographies & Artist Statements


Michael Barber

My name is Michael Barber and I was born in Simcoe, Ontario in 1967. I've been creating ever since I can remember.

I studied Graphic Design at The George Brown College in Toronto. After working for different advertising agencies and feeling the need to grow as an artist I started Strictly Visual in 1991, a graphic design studio where I began producing work that I felt was both creative and suitable for its application in the advertising market.

The desire to create freely and experiment without being concerned about marketability has taken me to painting, at First it was a difficult transition from creating work for commercial purposes to creating for personal ones. The inspiration for my work has come from my life and the lives of people close to me.

My works deal with examination of dark realities that are rarely spoken. Memories and thoughts are never clear and my paintings reflect the layers that hide or protect our past, the things we cherish and the things we'd love to forget.

Quite often in life things that are out of our control have such impact on our lives, not physically really but emotionally, things that we will carry with us forever. The good and the bad both weigh us down and fill us up, to the point that there's no room left. Then one day something happens that forces you to shift things, reposition and prioritize the weight to a more manageable point for the time being.

I paint on mahogany plywood and use a mixed media approach. Resist techniques are used with the paint application. Gouging and scratching is done with various hand tools, shovels and hoes are used to scrape the work and expose the earlier layers to create a sense of time. Images are applied to the work by using a very primitive printing technique and manipulating the cut after various applications.

The creation of a piece is a very physical activity. I get lost in the painting and struggle between layers, caught in a dilemma of exposure and protection. It's an exhausting process and yet I find it so satisfying.

Contact Michael:

Monique Bedard (Aura) 


Monique Bedard (Aura) is Haudenosaunee (Oneida Nation of the Thames) with Métis and French-Canadian ancestry from a small town in Southern Ontario. She has been deeply and passionately involved in visual arts for 13 years. In 2006, she began a formal study of visual arts at Fanshawe

College in London, ON. After three years of studies in London, she moved to Lethbridge, AB to complete an undergraduate degree at the University of Lethbridge. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Studio Art) degree in 2010 and returned to Ontario where she began instructing group art lessons with children, adolescents and adults. Monique currently resides in Tkaronto, where she is working towards the completion of her thesis at the graduate art therapy program of the Toronto Art Therapy

Institute. Her art therapy practicum settings include: the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, Youthdale Treatment Centres, Toronto District School Board, and Anishnawbe Health Toronto.

She is inspired by the healing journey: "I have the passion for community engagement, and collaboration where stories are shared through the art making process. Through a holistic approach, it is my aim to empower people by honing in on individuals' strengths. My goal is to build art projects that lead to a deep sense of understanding while connecting through unity, collaboration and transformation."

"It is through the freedom of the creative process that imagination and creativity are ignited, connections are restored, meaning is built, passions are discovered, visions are manifested, ideas are born, inspiration becomes contagious, strength is called upon, and all voices and stories are heard."

Artist Statement

I am inspired by storytelling and the healing journey, individually and as a community. Currently, I combine painting, drawing, beadwork and collage to examine stories that are connected to the mind, body, and spirit. I aim to address the pain of intergenerational trauma by exploring the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of self and other to communicate experiences from the inside out. By unearthing my own stories, I am able to strengthen connections where the process creates awareness and understanding; this experience is ultimately part of the healing journey. I have the passion for community engagement, and collaboration where stories are shared through the art making process. Through a holistic approach, it is my aim to empower people by honing in on individuals' strengths. My goal is to build art projects that lead to a deep sense of understanding while connecting through unity, collaboration and transformation. It is through the freedom of the creative process that imagination and creativity are ignited, connections are restored, meaning is built, passions are discovered, visions are manifested, ideas are born, inspiration becomes contagious, strength is called upon, and all voices and stories are heard.

Contact Aura:

Jennifer Brant

My inspiration for art and music comes from my heritage and Mohawk Culture, nature, agriculture, travel and most of all my family. I want to capture the feelings of reverence, love and respect influenced from my connection both culturally and spiritually to our surroundings.

Jennifer is a teacher, singer/songwriter and photographer from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

Her inspiration comes from her Mohawk Culture, nature, agriculture, travel and most of all my family. She tries to capture the feelings of reverence, love and respect influenced from her connection both culturally and spiritually to our surroundings.

Art Exhibitions:
2016 First Nations Art, Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, ON
2016 Gallery 121, Belleville ON
2015 Aboriginal Artfest, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, ON
2015 First Nations Art, Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, ON
2015 Expressions Art Show and Sale, Quinte Arts Council, Belleville, ON
2014 Aboriginal Artfest, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, ON

Contact Jennifer E. Brant:

Tracey-Mae Chambers

I, like many am struggling with the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and Canada’s continued apathy regarding Aboriginal issues. During the residency I began a journey of creating works to raise awareness about the issue that was different from other artist’s interpretation. I found that the critiques during the residency were encouraging and helped me shape the exhibition to its current state. The resulting work confronts viewers with the realities of the brutality of this situation and begs the question ‘why is this happening’?

I have entitled this highly visceral body of work ‘Mine is but a tear in a river’. Originally I had named the installation ‘Tears in a river’. But that seemed to be making the assumption that others found the issue as upsetting as I. So, I changed it to reflect that my tears are one in a river of tears. But a river is so much smaller than an ocean. An ocean of tears is what this issue requires.

I have been fortunate enough to have the continued support of the Ontario Arts Council in the completion of this very large exhibit and will spend the summer of 2016 completing it before it opens in Ottawa in August. I will be attending the 2016 FAC residency in May where I will begin a new project which deals head on with the human rights issue of trafficking women and girls. This work builds upon the realities of violence against Aboriginal women and girls and delves into the larger scope of violence against all women. I will be research with several Canadian groups which are in the midst of raising this issue here and world-wide.

I no longer see my art practice as I once did. I feel that my work is successful if it is a vehicle for social change rather than the only the attaining of conventional aesthetic beauty.

Miigwetch, Tracey-Mae Chambers

Solo Exhibitions

2017 ‘about eve’ Solo Exhibition Portage & District Arts Centre Portage la Prairie, MB
‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ Temiskaming Art Gallery, Haileybury, ON
‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ Gallery Stratford, Stratford, ON
‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ Saint John Arts Centre Saint John, NB
2016 ‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ Ottawa City Hall (first showing of all three portions) Aug 26 – Sept 5
‘about eve’ Niagara Pumphouse Gallery NOTL May
‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ The Edge Gallery Winnipeg March
‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ Asper Centre for Theatre and Film in Winnipeg, MB March
2015 ‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ Ojibwe Cultural Foundation M'Chigeeng, ON Sept Nov
‘about eve’ 4elements Living Arts Gallery Kagawong ON Aug
‘Seeds of hope, Seeds of despair’ Planet IndigenUS 2015 The Japanese Paper Place ON July Aug
‘about eve’ Station Gallery Tillsonburg ON Feb
2014 ‘about eve’ Whitby Station Gallery Curated by Olexander Wlasenko Sept Nov
‘about eve’ Ontario Shores Gallery Nov Dec
‘Self Pity’ Cambridge Centre for the Arts September
‘about eve’ Woodland Cultural Centre Brantford ONCurated by Naomi Johnson May July
2013 ‘Self Pity’ Ontario Shores Gallery Whitby ON Sept
‘Self Pity’ Lindsay Art Gallery ON June
Group Exhibitions
2016 Feminist Art Conference Exhibition OCAD Toronto Aug
First Nations Art 2015 Woodland Cultural Centre Brantford May July
Feminist Art Conference Exhibition Curated by Ilene Sova Toronto May
2015 ‘Walking Together’ Exhibition Nuit Blanche Arts Festival Toronto ON Oct
Contemporary Feminist Art Exhibition Melbourne Australia Oct
‘Walking Together’ Exhibition McKenzie House Museum Toronto ON Sept Nov
‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ Feminist Art Conference Exhibition OCAD Toronto Aug
‘Visual Elements’ Woodstock Art Gallery-Jurors Choice Award Curated by Mary Reid July Sept
‘Wa’tkwanonhwerá:ton“I send greetings to you.” Glenhyrst Gallery Brantford  
Curated by Bryce Kanbara~Mine is but a tear in a river’. July Aug
‘Walking Together’ Exhibition Brantford Arts Block July Sept
First Nations Art 2015 Woodland Cultural Centre Brantford May July
Feminist Art Conference Exhibition Curated by Ilene Sova Toronto May
2014 Art in the Workplace McMaster Innovation Park Hamilton Nov Feb
‘Slice of Life’ Whitby Station Gallery Curated by Olexander Wlasenko Nov Jan
Art in the Workplace McMaster Innovation Park Hamilton Sept Nov
Capital One Head Office Toronto-Native Exhibition April Aug
2013 Pushing Boundaries First Nations Art City Scape Community Art Space Van. BC
First Nations Art Woodland Cultural Centre Brantford Curated by Janis Montour May July
‘Art of the Mind’ Juried Exhibition Ontario Shores Gallery Whitby Feb Mar
‘Art of the Mind’ Auction SHAMBA Foundation Toronto Feb
‘Art Connects’ Ontario Shores Gallery Whitby ON Oct Nov
Aboriginal Entrepreneur Conference Ottawa ON Oct Planet Indigenus Harbourfront Centre & Woodland Cultural Centre
National Aboriginal Day Celebration Kitchener ON June
First Nations Art Brantford ON May July
‘Red Hot’ Ontario Shores Gallery Whitby ON May June
Contact Tracey-Mae:

Catherine Dallaire 


Catherine Dallaire is a Métis artist born in Kitchener, Ontario on October 19th, 1979. She was always drawing as a child (often during math class). She began to take a serious interest in art at age 12 and started taking professional training. At age 16 she held a co-op position at the K-W Art Gallery, caring for works and installations. After graduating highschool at age 19, she worked for a year at Michaels Art Store in Waterloo, Ontario as a sales associate and arts and crafts department specialist. She taught a Watercolour for beginner’s course in the store classroom.

She graduated from the Graphic Design and Advertising program at Conestoga College in 2002, specializing in illustration. She now works at the University of Waterloo during the day, and devotes her evenings to her graphic design and _ne art work.

She is skilled with digital art as well as traditional art, and enjoys working in a variety of mediums and styles, including painting in acrylics, watercolours and oils; drawing in pencil, pen & ink and coloured pencil; sculpting, leatherwork, beadwork and woodwork.

Catherine has been working to restore the knowledge, language, and family history that has been lost in her family over centuries of colonization, assimilation, shame and fear. Her artwork is deeply rooted not only in exploring these factors of her family past, but also in trying to help bring a sense of connectedness to others with First Nations heritage who have become disconnected from traditional ways and teachings.

Catherine has been active in the First Nations community and Waterloo region art community for over 15 years. She has work owned by author Joseph Boyden, actor Adam Beach, singer/songwriter Susan Aglukark; playwright, author & musician Tomson Highway, writer John Ralston Saul, and Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde. She has also donated work over the past 3 years to Walking with Our Sisters, a group which works to help raise funds for Aboriginal support organizations. She has also donated work in the last 4 years to Bridging Communities through Song, a yearly event which works to build bridges of reconciliation between First Nation and Settler peoples. Combining both elements of the traditional style of Woodland art with a contemporary style, her work


Artist’s Statement

My works are inspired by my heritage - I am Métis (mixed Anishnaabe and French Canadian ancestry).
As a mixed blood person, I have always found it challenging to balance the traditional Anishnaabe
aspects of my life with the contemporary “Westernized” aspects. I am able to do this in part by using my
artwork as a tool to combine traditional Woodland and contemporary realism techniques, materials, and imagery in a way that they work in harmony with each other. Through this, I am learning more about myself as a complete person and not just two halves of a whole. The ultimate goal of my work is twofold: To inspire positive strides for relationship building between native and non-native people; and to create a call to attention for all people of the crucial need to re-learn our timeless connection to nature and all our relations within it. In this age of consumption and technology, my work asks people to stop and take a moment to remember where we came from, and how we must learn to respect and treasure the irreplaceable.



The country is at a crossroads in weighing the importance of energy extraction over the health and longevity of our environment. “Extraction” attempts to depict the stark reality of the consequences of this ongoing battle. An oil field looms in the background, partially obscured by panels and pieces of birch bark, which feature on them a black bear and woodland floral work. These panels are symbolic
of the purity of the natural world, but they are fragile, fragmented and peeling. Painted vines and flowers are abruptly cut off at the edges, showing that this was once a complete picture and many pieces have gone missing or been destroyed. The lone bear without the presence
of other animals or insects suggests extinction. The bear is directly facing the viewer, as if asking for help. The visible oil derricks are silhouetted by the setting sun, which is suggestive of the last dwindling light before the darkness comes.


New Beginnings signifies the unending and ever-present cycle of life. The life-giving sun at the top of the work extends its rays to the deer jaw below it, whose teeth roots transform into plant roots and blossom with flowers. This work aims to serve as
a reminder of the calmness and harmony that exists beneath the complex lives we create for ourselves.


The strawberry plays an important role in Anishnaabe culture. Because it is shaped like a heart, it is often referred to as
"the heart berry" and it represents love, forgiveness, togetherness and family ties. It is a peacemaker plant.
The Heart Berry shows the one-in-the-same nature of the heart and the strawberry. The surrounding woodland-style
stylization, deep blue background and backlighting represent peace and serenity.

Deron Ahsén:nase Douglas


Deron Ahsén:nase Douglas is a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) artist/author with roots in the Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory. Working with oils on canvas (although he has dabbled in stone and wood carving, clay, photography, water color, acrylic and print-making), he now illustrates children’s story books and creates cover art with more than a 1000 cover images to his name.

He continues to work within his favourite medium and signs his oil paintings with his Kanien’kéha name as he did more than 40 years ago. The artist is currently working on a group of paintings that examines Native North American/First Nations/Aboriginal/NDN identity and culture within today’s society, as well as traditional storytelling and its characters. His paintings can be found within private collections across Canada and the USA, and can be viewed at

The artist/author grew up within a culture of oral storytelling, and remembers the many stories told by his father and grandmother around the kitchen table. His favourite story, which was told by his father Wishé, is called Raké:ni’s Farm and is a true ghost story which has haunted his family for generations. This story along with his version of the Three Brave Hunters and the Great Bear are scheduled for release within the 2016-2017 timeframe.  In 2015 he released an illustrated children’s story book entitled Coyote Boy: An Original Trickster Story.

He is currently an “Artist in Residence” for the York Region District School Board, as well as a First Nations Storyteller and First Nations teaching advisor. He has formal training in the fine arts (art history and photography), visual design, computer science, social science, education and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Artist’s Statement

About five years ago I was speaking to a group of grade 3 children in an elementary classroom when one student asked, “I thought Indians were part of the past?”  I was a little befuddled to say the least, and responded in the best teacher voice that I could muster, “No we’re still here.”              

This question has lead me to various thoughts and images, some rendered in oils, while others still exist only as rough sketches in my sketch book. All try to express that one statement to varying degrees— “We are still here”.

With this in mind I am offering three paintings that I hope will explore this theme. The success of this exercise may vary, and I admit that I am still trying to figure it out with the hope of eventually getting it right.  I have used what may be considered by some as cliché trappings of an age long past, but I’ve done this intentionally and have juxtaposed these items with modern everyday objects in order to convey the statement— “We are still here”— perhaps in a tongue-in-cheek manner. 

“Holding Back the Madness” – After the TRC hit the streets I thought about what this meant to me and perhaps other First Nation people. Without getting into a lengthy discussion, this painting represents the importance of culture and history as a means of maintaining balance within this modern topsy-turvy world.  I feel that our culture and the knowledge of our past (not assimilation) makes us stronger as individuals and helps us to confront the challenges of today’s society. Without it we are lost and flounder as individuals as proven by those generations touched by the residential school experience and the generations that followed.

“Brave New Warrior” - This play on words depicts a young brave with his modern weapon of choice, ready to prove himself to the world. This painting came about after reading a number of books by Sherman Alexie and Thomas King, and realizing how important basketball was for some First Nation’s youth. I saw the practice of this activity and its importance similar to the old rites of passage practiced long ago when young men set out to prove themselves before being admitted into adulthood. In this case, replacing the spear, arrow or war club with the basketball.

 “Iktomi in His Bathrobe” – This is perhaps one of my more tongue-in-cheek paintings. One day I was wondering, what are all those old Gods of our traditions doing now that many FN people have turned their backs on the old ways in the name of assimilation?  

In the case of this painting, I was thinking about Iktomi, the Lakota trickster figure, and I envisioned him sitting around in his bathrobe, waiting for the phone to ring — signaling that call to action that may never come.

Deron Ahsén:nase Douglas

Ronnie Hill


Ronnie Hill was born January 31, 1996, in Brantford General Hospital and currently lives in Six Nations Reserve. She is working towards a diploma for Graphic Design at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. While learning how to use a digital platform for art, Hill also enjoys to use traditional ways for most of the completed artworks. Hill is eager to try various techniques and design theory to get a positive message out in the world that can result in great social change.

Artist’s Statement

I know in change, and the best way I can further change is to do it with my art. Using skills and techniques learned from a graphic design stand point I’ve decided to dedicate my art to helping others become more aware of the inside and outside forces within ourselves to overcome anything and everything.

Nancy King


Nancy King is a First Nations (Potawatomi and Chippewa) artist from Rama First Nation. Her spirit name is Ogimaakwebnes, which means Chief Lady Bird. She has completed her BFA in Drawing and Painting with a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University and has been exhibiting her work professionally since she was 14 years old.

Through her art practice, she strives to look to the past to help her navigate her Anishinaabe identity whilst living in an urban space as well as advocate for Indigenous representation as an integral aspect of Canada's national identity. She addresses the complexity of identity through the use of contemporary painting techniques; woodlands style imagery, photography, digital manipulation and traditional Indigenous craft materials.

Artist Statement

As an Anishinaabe woman, Ogimaakwebnes has deep ties to the traditional territories where she grew up (Rama First Nation and Moose Deer Point First Nation). She lived on the reserve for eighteen years and in 2011 she moved to Toronto to pursue an education and career in the arts. Living in an urban space has urged her to explore and understand her Anishinaabe identity in relation to the land and the dominant culture, often resulting in a critique of Canada’s internalized colonial ideals. In her final year at OCAD, she titled her thesis “Kwezens Kendaaso Kinowaabandang Kina Gegoo” which means “She Learns

From Observing Everything.” Ogimaakwebnes’s work is feminist by nature. Specifically she operates under Indigenous feminism, which acknowledges that Western feminism cannot be applied equally to all women without homogenizing their diverse experiences. She is continually impacted by the reality of the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada and strives to make work that addresses prominent socio-political issues and transcends stereotypes.

Contact Nancy:
@chiefladybird (instagram)

Lindsey Rayane Lickers

Mushkiiki Nibi Kwe- Medicine Water Woman


Lindsey Lickers is an Ojibway, multi-media artist and arts administrator originally from Six Nations of the Grand River (father’s family-Seneca, Onondaga, Mohawk), with ancestral roots to Mississaugas of the New Credit (mother’s family). She specializes in painting, traditional beading and leatherwork.

She is a graduate of OCAD University, holding a Bachelor of Fine Art. She has sat on a number of community advisory boards and committees, most recently becoming a member of the Planet IndigenUS Advisory Committee for 2015, and a director on the board of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. Lindsey is a founding member of SACRED: Spirit Arts Collective.

She currently works as a special projects coordinator at Prince’s Charities Canada for their Indigenous initiatives, and is a freelance arts and culture facilitator.

She currently maintains an arts practice in Toronto, and Six Nations.

Artist Statement

“The movements of Great Mystery, being infinite creation, are expressed by life.” –unknown

After spending twelve years of cultivating an Indigenous arts practice my work has come down to one concept; visual, physical, and emotional manifestations from my spirit. For me, collaborating with my own spirit only comes from a place of balance, a place of meditation, a place of ceremony. If anyone would like to get to know me they need only to view my work. Within those images are teachings that have been gifted, respected, and cherished. There is visual language passed on through generations and nations. There is the residual energy that flows from me, and becomes its own entity, it’s own life force, its own spirit. And in that, it becomes my way of giving thanks to Great Mystery, to creation for granting me the gift to speak with my heart and with my soul.

Chi Miigwetch ~ Niá:wen

‘She Is Sacred’
Mixed Media on Panel

In my experience being a woman is not easy and being a woman who is driven to succeed is even more difficult. I have dedicated a lot of my time to advocate and support the community. I have also focused a great deal of my energy on walking my talk, being clear in my intentions, following the 7 Grandfathers teachings and trying my best to live in a good way. I am not perfect, I am human, but I also believe in owning my humility and being truthful.

Many times, regardless of my good intentions, others have reflected back to me negativity, anger, violence, fear. Sometimes the words and actions are downright hurtful and cause me to doubt myself. I had an instance of this self doubt not that long ago, all because of someone’s hurtful words. I sat with it for days… from then I took a deep breath, and prayed. I prayed for this person’s spirit, and wished nothing but good things for them. Not to disregard the actions, but to honor the lesson this person gave to me in the midst of expressing their anger and that was the awareness that I needed to love myself again, to lift myself back up. If we can’t love ourselves, we cannot love others.

Then I gave thanks for the helpers that watch over me, and keep me on track. Lastly I gave thanks for my own strength to stay with my pain, listen to my spirit and send out love and forgiveness. I gave thanks for the reminder of who I am; strong, Indigenous, a woman.

For me, art is healing, it is a way for me to visually express the emotions felt by my spirit, and this is the vision from my personal ceremony.

In dedication to all the strong women I am blessed to have in my life.

Chi Miigwetch/ Niá:wen

Contact Lindsey:

Quinn Smallboy

I am originally from Moose Factory ON, I now currently live with my family in London ON.  I am currently attending Western University in the visual arts program and most recently I just completed my first year of graduate school in master of fine arts.  In my work I blend indigenous traditions with a modern interpretation through sculptural materials such as ropes and wood. 

Contact Quinn: