Men or women, younger or older, well known or just starting out, the artists that Colouring It Forward works with on projects come from all walks of life. They are also from everywhere in Canada. If you are an indigenous artist and you would like to join our artists’ community, like our Facebook page or join our Group page. Stay tuned for Calls for Artists that occur before projects like our Indigenous Art Calendar or t-shirt designs.
Originally from Quebec, Diana spent her teenage years in Western Africa which was an early awakening to different cultures and the difficulties of living in a developing country. Following that experience, she obtained a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Sherbrooke with the intention of helping people to improve their standard of living by working on water and sanitation projects. After working as an Environmental Engineer and Simulations Engineer for 6 years, she left her job to work as a volunteer in Peru for two years on optimizing existing water and sewer systems. At the end of her contract, she came back to Alberta to work for the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, a startup not-for-profit organization with whom she pioneered train the trainer programs on household water treatment projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Aside from being an engineer, Diana is also an Algonquin Métis, an artist, and a musician. Her love for art started when she was a child, drawing and painting in her grandfather’s art studio. She has worked mainly on portraits for the past 20 years, both in charcoal and chalk, pastels and watercolour.
Martha is a self-taught artist and seamstress. She grew up in Pond Inlet, Nunavut and is the youngest of eleven children. Most of her family members are creative, artistic, and work in the field of education. Living in Pond Inlet, Martha had her own retail store selling sewing supplies and other items. Her passion has always been sewing and designing as she grew up watching her mother and sisters sew.
As an artist, she has illustrated several children’s books, as well as worked on graphic designs and produced Inuktitut books and teaching resources. She has been an educator for many years and has had a meaningful career in many positions as a teacher, principal and superintendent.
Martha is currently an instructor at the Ottawa-based college program Nunavut Sivuniksavut where she teaches Inuit History, Inuktitut, and sewing. She is a graduate of McGill University. When she spends time in Ottawa, away from family and her community, she finds more time to create garments, jewelry and paintings. True to her arctic roots, sealskin is featured predominantly in many of her designs.
A member of the Listuguj Migmaq First Nation Band in Gaspe Quebec, Jonathan’s talent was recognized early in childhood and was further nurtured by attending Dawson College Fine Art Program. He also attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design where he majored in print making and painting.
His art has been on display throughout Canada and is on permanent display at the Gallery of Fine Art in Halifax, NS. His cultural heritage and strong focus on his art bring together a sense of colour and style distinctive in method and view.
Emphasizing aboriginal stereotypes and native art in modern culture, his art attempts to examine where native art fits into society and in contrast, to where a native artist fits into the art world. His larger than life depictions of indigenous peoples speak to his passion for both art and his native heritage.
Jonathan Labillois currently resides in Victoria, BC, Canada where he continues to expand his body of work and subject matter
Gordon Wesley is passionate about bringing the life of the wild into a still picture, where he can preserve them as memories from his outdoor experiences. He is a proud Nakoda Stoney from the Bighorn Reserve, where he was inspired to create life on canvas. Living in a quiet reserve in the mountains, Gordon can easily maintain his focus and concentrate on the essence of bringing his interpretation of the wildlife of the Rockies to canvas.
As a child, he loved to be outdoors watching the animals that inhabit his local geography. He was always curious about them and enjoyed their natural beauty. Gordon’s passion for nature comes from the desire to capture the spirit of the wild animals in art.
Gordon has participated in numerous exhibits, shows and art sales such as the:
Tamarack Art Show & Sale,the World Indigenous People Conference on Education,Dale Auger & Friends’ First Nation Art & Sale Events,Preserving our Treaties, Concert & Silent Auction,Canada Day Celebration,Art Walk,Calgary Exhibit Stampede,Western Art Gallery,The Heritage Gala CelebrationAboriginal Heritage,Ducks Unlimited Canada Fundraising Event,Western Indian Art Show,“Essence of the Wild” Sun & Moon Visionaries,Aboriginal Day in Jasper, AB,Moon Stone Gallery,Pickin Party (Cochrane) and many more.
Gordon has recently been featured in Colouring It Forward’s 2018 Indigenous Art Calendar.
From an early age, Frank found refuge in his art, taking comfort in drawing the beaver and moose he saw along the shore when his father, Walter, took him out on his trap line. It was only after a succession of art school dropouts, two separations and serving five years in a federal penitentiary that Frank used his art to put himself on the road to independence.
It was while incarcerated that he was inspired by a library book on Norval Morrisseau. He began to create pictures, at first using house paint from the jail woodwork shop, discarded jean jackets and torn bed sheets for canvas. Prison visitors started buying Frank’s work, and during a daypass, he arranged for his first exhibition at the Thomas B. Maracle Gallery on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, where four works were sold.
An estimated 2600 paintings later, Frank has survived a substance abuse relapse, another jail term, and a heart attack. But today he is sober and maintains contact with his children and grandchildren.
Frank’s painting makes him feel like he is doing something for himself. It is exciting to him to be part of the evolution of contemporary Algonquin Art, which is now collected and exhibited around the world. As an Algonquin First Nation painter and sculptor, he has adopted his artistic heritage in a way that many elders would have never imagined, expressing his aesthetic, political, and social views in a range of styles and media.
Even when he paint in the fundamentally traditional Woodland style, his colourful and dynamic art works are fresh and modern. Frank’s realistic depictions of daily activities, northwestern Quebec wildlife, and traditional spirituality, including legends and shamanistic transformations, are very powerful. The Great Northern Diver and the Timber Wolf remain among his favourite wildlife symbols.
Every occasion he gets to show his work allows him to break his people’s isolation, to promote their traditions and build a bridge between cultures. The situation for Indigenous youth truly concerns him, so he is always very happy to share his experience with them, and tell them how much art helped him to free himself and gain access to a healthy lifestyle full of discoveries. He is very grateful to the elders who helped him regain and maintain his balance.
Shelley and Mark May
“The Métis Mama & Papa”, Self-taught Artists
They first journey on opposite ends of the country by signing up for online dating. After years of unsuccessful relationships they were at a point in their life where they knew what they wanted. Shelley had an adult son but was a kinship mom and raising a family members boys. Mark’s daughter was grown and he was ready to have a family once again. After months of texting, phone calls and snail mail they met in person and knew they wanted to be together. Then in late 2012 Mark made his move to Canada from Pennsylvania; USA. They married in a small ceremony in their living room surrounded by family and a few close friends in early 2013. The year followed with Mark becoming the legal guardian along side Shelley of both their boys. The years that have followed have been much growing and learning together as a couple, as parents and through their art.
Mark’s passion is poetry, abstract & digital art, jewelry making and working with antler. Shelley loves mixed media art often painting whimsical portraits of women. She is also known for her Spirit dolls and Spirit doll workshops. Together their style is simplistic and beautiful. Mark often paints the backgrounds and sometimes writes the poetry on their collaborations. Shelley often paints the women, men and animals in their creations. Together their art compliments and balances each other. Shelley and Mark smudge and bless all of their finished work and hope that each piece they create brings a sense of peace and healing.
Sam is a Woodland Cree from Pukatawagan First Nation, MB although he now calls Calgary home. He started drawing when he was 14 years old and has been painting since he was 20. He comes from a long line of family artists, and grew up watching other family members drawing and painting before trying it himself. His older brother recognized Sam’s talent with drawing and was instrumental in helping him learn to paint.
He works in ink or acrylic depicting animals, warriors and instruments filled with scenery, all in brilliant colours. Every painting contains symbolism to honour women, to recognize a life well lived or a life of hardship and spirituality.
Sam has participated in many shows in Alberta, Winnipeg, Regina and Toronto. He has his work exhibited at the Moonstone Gallery as well as Delree’s Native Art Gallery. He produces commissions such as designs for tattoos, clothing including the design for a 2017 T-shirt for Canada 150 and was the illustrator for a comic book. One of his pieces was featured in Colouring It Forward’s 2018 Indigenous Art Calendar.
He loves the way people react to his paintings and it makes him very happy to give them that enjoyment.
Delree Dumont is a First Nation woman whose family is from Onion Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan. Delree excelled in the arts from the time she was a child and has painted throughout her life, even while working in the oil and gas industry for 32 years.
She paints mostly in acrylics but has enjoyed painting with oils and watercolours. Her favourite things to paint include wildlife, horses and aboriginal dancers in their regalia. Delree’s style varies between realism and pointillism.Her pointillism paintings appear to be like beadwork on canvas and she enjoys seeing peoples’ reaction when they get up close to her paintings.
In 2014, she left the oil and gas industry to pursue her dream of opening a native art gallery. She opened Delree’s Native Art Gallery on October 6, 2015 in honour of her mom’s birthday and celebrates every year on this date.
Her gallery showcases and celebrates Canada’s talented First Nation, Métis and Inuit artists, crafters and designers. Delree’s commitment extends not only to sharing arts and crafts but also to sharing knowledge. She hires aboriginal facilitators to share culture and traditions during events in her gallery. In 2017, Delree’s Native Art Gallery has hosted over 24 workshops to teach people how to make dreamcatchers, baby moccasins and ceremonial dresses, as well as on medicine wheel teachings, how to paint with pointillism, healing ritual classes and more! These classes are important as they teach people about indigenous history and with knowledge will promote better understanding. She also sits on the Olds committee to help organize National Aboriginal Awareness Day activities.
Delree has just returned from Berlin, Germany, where she was invited to paint murals in the Canadian Embassy!
Christiana Latham is a multidisciplinary artist of Northern Native and British decent. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Multimedia Arts and Design Technologies in 2015 and is currently taking printmaking as a minor at The Alberta College of Art and Design. Christiana has exhibited her work in various galleries, and her films have been shown in film festivals worldwide. One of her most recent achievements was the acceptance of her latest film into GAMA (Gallery of Alberta Media Arts) at the Epcor Centre in Calgary in 2016.
Christiana’s film Jingle Dress was also recently accepted into the Imagine Native 11 Media Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario. Several of her paintings and digital artworks have also been published in several Canadian magazines.
She also is a director of Indigeneity Artist Collective Society and has been co-presenting films with the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers and DreamSpeakers Film Festival.
Christiana Latham’s current main artistic focus is on film, watercolor and print media. Her artistic endeavours work to challenge personal growth and self-discovery. Christiana’s work has evolved over time but she remains constant in creating culturally explorative pieces that work to connect her past to her present.
Kalum Teke Dan
Kalum is a Blackfoot artist from Calgary who originates from the Blood Tribe in Southern
Alberta. He was first inspired to create art by his grandparents, who were known
internationally for their bead work and traditional regalia.
Mostly self-taught and working in both oil and watercolour, Kalum has become known
for his strong portraiture and his stunning wildlife depictions. His portraits are based on
real life people– those who portray the strength and the pride of the People as a whole.
He captures the spirit of the animals he paints on canvas. Kalum’s work is in the
personal collection of several Canadian Premiers, international leaders and many of
Canada’s leading corporations.
Ryan Jason Allen Willert
A full-time artist and storyteller living in Red Deer, Alberta, Ryan was born and raised in Southern Alberta. Although he was brought up in a non-native community, he has since reconnected with his Blackfoot roots (Siksika Nation). Ryan learned the art of black ink drawing from his father Richard (Dicky) Stimson, another well-known Siksika Nation artist.
Among the many exhibitions where he has presented his work are the City of Calgary and Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. Ryan has done readings of his stories in front of large audiences including the Calgary’s Aboriginal Awareness Week at Mount Royal College in 2008. He has also recently completed many murals in universities and schools.
Michael Fatt is a Chipewyan Dene from Lutselk’e, a fly-in community near Yellowknife, NWT, located on upper east arm of the Great Slave Lake.
Michael’s art has always been a part of his life. As a young child in a foster home, his artistic talent was noticed and he was entered into an art course at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. He faced much adversity in life and after spending time in and out of jail, he returned to his original community. Here he was inspired to learn more about his people and the stories he listened to and learned to love, helped him evolve his work into a unique style.
His art has been shown at the Moonstone Creation Native Gallery and Gift Shop in Calgary and in several fairs in Banff, Canmore, Morley and Symons Valley Ranch. In late 2016, he also created a live painting, which was auctioned off at Ground Zero Theatre.
A member of the Fishing Lake First Nation and lifelong resident of Air Ronge, Saskatchewan, Donna Rose Langhorne is the mother of three children between the ages of five and ten years old. Now age 28, she has been working in Northern Saskatchewan as a self-taught professional artist since 2010.
Donna suffers from a debilitating condition that makes it extremely traumatic for her to travel. Dealing with this confining reality has greatly influenced her artwork, underpinning in one way or another, virtually everything she creates, both structurally and thematically. Having this condition means it has made it very difficult for her to connect with and integrate into the arts community and to also establish herself in a broader marketplace, let alone to pursue mentorship and professional development opportunities.
Even acquiring supplies is problematic, and costly, since they are not readily available in the remote Northern community in which she lives. While Donna has produced and sold upwards of 100 paintings, including creating art for private, public and corporate commissions, her chief market has been limited to this economically challenged Northern region.
She participates at every opportunity in local trade fairs and her work has received considerable exposure and acclaim this way. Donna has worked hard to establish an online presence and is the owner/operator of the Donna The Strange On-Line Art Gallery, which has a strong following.
Autumn Whiteway (“Night Singing Woman”) is a Saulteaux/Métis visual artist, traditional craftworker and curator. As an archaeologist, she has always been curious about the material culture produced by her ancestors, in addition to traditional knowledge passed down through the generations. This curiosity led her on a path of discovery, to learn traditional indigenous crafts such as drum and rattle making,moose and caribou hair tufting, fish scale art, porcupine quillwork, beadwork, dreamcatchers and jewelry. Inspired by artists such as Norval Morrisseau and Kent Monkman, she additionally explores Indigenous themes from a contemporary perspective through painting and photography. Her painting and digital art is primarily focused on the heavily symbolic Woodland Style of Indigenous art. Her photography, on the other hand, is used as a form of activism to highlight Indigenous issues.
Flora Johnson is an Indigenous artist born in Flin Flon, Manitoba, and is from the Mosakahiken Cree Nation (MB). She is the mother of three and grandmother of nine. A survivor of the Sixties Scoop, Flora was adopted into the United States where she was raised. Of the many careers she’s had, certified motorcycle mechanic and welder are among them! Now retired and following her dream to focus on her career as an artist, Flora volunteers by teaching spirit rattle sticks and paint nites at SAIT College, and at schools making spirit masks, and healing smudge feathers for health clinics. She paints for people who have a spiritual connection with certain animals, capturing the emotions in the heart of each individual and representing the warrior within them. Flora uses bright colours in her art, where blue is communication, clean, water, life. Red is strength, love, spiritual connection with the creator and passion. The sun represents growth and the giving of life. Hair represents our spirit, Black is grounding.
A Mi’gmaq artist born and raised on the shores of the Restigouche River, Tracey Metallic’s talent found expression as a founding member of Pugwalesg, a Mi’gmaq women’s hand drum group. Tracey’s career in painting was launched as a therapeutic outlet, painting cartoon characters for her grandchildren. Upon sharing her work on social media Tracey began receiving requests for abstract paintings. These initial pieces evolved with confidence into her own designs. When her brush touched the canvas a bright spark was lit. She connected immediately and has been creating ever since. Tracey’s artwork reflects much of her own journey in life and she believes that everyone is on their own journey looking to better their lives and to put everything they have experienced into retrospect. Residing in her home community of Listuguj, in the territory of Gespe’gewagi, Tracey holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work from St.Thomas University and a Masters of Social Work from Wilfred Laurier University.
Madeline Belanger's Cree name is Sakaw Iskwew. It means Bush Woman and it is a legacy name because it belonged to her gr grandmother. An artist from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Madeline says "When I was a child, my older cousin Leon showed me a drawing he had made of a horse. Ever since then I was fascinated with art. I learned about drawing and painting in high school and have been mostly self taught since then. I used to keep my art work to myself and my immediate family until one day a friend of mine saw what I had painted. I was encouraged to share my art work. It's a scary thing to share something that's personal to you. My artwork is inspired by the colours of the natural world. I paint images as they come to me or as I see them in my imagination or dreams. They represent experiences I've had or influences that have been around me since childhood. The majority of my artwork has a story behind it and I'm willing to tell the stories of my art. I'm proud of my Nehiyaw culture and am glad to share parts of it through art." Madeline's artwork features on the cover of Colouring it Forward notebook entitled "All my Grandmothers' Flowers" as well as in the 2020 Indigenous Art Calendar and the Indigenous Art and Wisdom Journal.
Marcia Little is from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, and is a mother to four children and a grandmother to one. Three of her children are now adults living separate lives, one who is attending the University of Saskatchewan (USask) as a second-year student. Meanwhile, her youngest, who is 14 years old, is currently living with her. Besides being a mother, Little is also a full-time student in USask’s College of Arts and Science. Through her own experiences, she found USask as a step towards starting a new beginning in her life. Now in her fourth year of studies, Little continues to thrive in and outside the classroom. Last year, she was one of the college’s 13 Indigenous Student Achievement Award winners. Additionally, one of her paintings, along with 10 other Indigenous/Métis/Inuit artists, was published by an Indigenous social enterprise called Colouring it Forward, in the Indigenous Art & Wisdom Journal. The painting featured in the journal was the same piece she created after she started her healing journey, and said it represented going back home to heal and taking back her power.
Tyrone Whitehawk is a Saulteux/Ojibway first nations artist from Cote First nations reserve in Saskatchewan. He paints utilizing the love and passion in his heart expressing each experience he has been fortunate enough to survive through with every stroke of the brush. Tyrone is very proud of his First Nation heritage and this has been a source of inspiration for him and is often expressed through his artwork, which is mainly acrylic on canvas. Talented in many types of art expression, Tyrone won First place in the 2018 Peace Hills Trust Award. His artwork was featured on the cover of Colouring It Forward's 2019 Indigenous Art Calendar, the 2020 Indigenous Art Calendar and the Indigenous Art & Wisdom Journal.
Tsiktsinensawe Yakonkwe/Rhonda Lucy is of the Mohawk Nation. Aside from her contributions as an artist, an author, a comedian, a filmmaker, a designer, an artistic director, a prop, puppet, mask and costume maker, a dancer and a musician, she is also the founder and Artistic Director of Sun Raven Arts established in 2015. Birthed out of the Idle No More Movement, MMIWM2 initiatives and the 94 Calls to Action. Sun Raven Arts aims to empower voices through the arts and tradition by means of alternative methods of learning and healing. Offering arts based education, cultural awareness, trainer training, trauma and harm reductions arts based programming, workshops, lectures/talks, and production in both live performance and film. Rhonda's artwork was featured in the 2019 and 2020 Indigenous Art Calendars as well as in the Indigenous Art & Wisdom Journal.
Danielle writes, "I am a Plains Cree woman from Kawacatoose First Nation attending the University of Saskatchewan obtaining a bachelors degree in Social Work. I am also a full time artist with my works focusing on the triumphs and resilience of Indigenous culture. I was born and raised in Regina and I moved to Saskatoon to further my educational career." Danielle's art features in Colouring It Forward's Indigenous Art & Wisdom Journal.
BuffaloBoy, TravelingRock, Kind hearted Man, of the Tsuut’ina, Sarcee Dene Nation. Artist, Illustrator, Powwow Dancer, Yellow Hand, Stick Man & Protector. Nathan Meguinis is a member of the Tsuut’ina Nation who started drawing at a very young age. Heavily influenced by his family and community, Nathan was first encouraged to draw by his parents. His grandparents taught him to value and understand his traditional First Nations culture, which has helped him shape his style of artwork opening new doors to this First Nations artist. He chosen mediums are mainly ink, pencils, colour pencils and paint, and he has created over 14 Art Logos for his Nation. Aside from producing beautiful paintings and logos, Nathan's artwork appears in many murals around Calgary and Tsuut'ina. His work also featured in Colouring It Forward's 2020 Indigenous Art Calendar.
Dogrib artist James Wedzin was born and raised in the community of Fort Rae on the shores of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. Raised by his Grandmother, he would watch her create intricate beadwork patterns to adorn traditional Dene clothing. He credits her for his initial interest in art and later for encouraging him to develop his own style. Drawing since the age of four, it was not until grade five in school where he was introduced to brush and paint. With no formal training, James would learn on his own from any source he could, including television. He credits the late Bob Ross for showing him many painting techniques he still uses today. For years James did not realize that he had any special talents. “I thought that everyone could draw and paint. I didn’t think I could do anything that anyone else couldn’t.” At fourteen he began to discover that he had talent when he sold his first painting. At eighteen, he was selling his work consistently to corporations and private collectors. In 1999, he made the decision to become a full-time artist. There is no doubt that with his wonderful Northern Canadian landscapes and animal imagery, James Wedzin will secure his place as one of its best know Aboriginal artists. James beautiful artwork was selected for the cover of Colouring It Forward's 2020 Indigenous Art Calendar
Ryan Pruden is a Metis of Cree and European dissent and was born and raised in Winnipeg Manitoba. He spent most of his summers In Grand Marais Manitoba at the family cabin. He grew up in an addictive family situation and left home at a very young age. He spent most of his life with untreated bipolar disorder and PTSD from a very violent life, and until a few years ago, he struggled with multiple addictions as a way to cope. Friday November 13, 2015 was a turning point when Ryan got sober. Through his struggle, he lost everything he owned and was facing living on the streets, when he was taken in at The Red Road Lodge. During his stay he rediscovered his love for art. Having an art studio to work in, and a gallery to display his art was very beneficial to his recovery. His talents are in painting, sketching, clay sculpture, and native crafts. Upon leaving the center, Ryan went to live with his aunt where he found himself with no gallery or art room. He soon got into graphics and meme's to fill his time and now uses Facebook to display his artistic talents for the recovering community through his Facebook pages - Hard Core Recovery, Off The Hook Recovery, and No Longer Anonymous. Through running these Facebook sites he also rediscovered my passion for writing and poetry. The recovery community loves his unique art and writing and his work has been shared by many recovery pages. He now has close to 10,000 combined followers on different pages and has started an online support group - Ending The Stigma. Through his efforts he reaches approximately 200,000 people recovering from addiction every month. "I hope to turn this into an opportunity to sell t shirt's and literature. I am currently living on provincial disability as I have several disabilities preventing me from working. I spend my time helping others recover from addiction. I am grateful for Colouring it Forward and the opportunity to display my talents and am looking forward to seeing my piece featured in the upcoming calendar, meeguich" Ryan's work was featured in Colouring It Forward's 2018 Indigenous Art Calendar.