Today, June 21, is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. As a creative agency we want to highlight four artists whose work we admire, to help celebrate the cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples.
Indigenous graffiti artist, rapper, and teacher/mentor Quentin “Que Rock” Commanda is from Nipissing First Nation. Painting, dancing, leatherwork and storytelling were taught to him through traditional Anishnaabe and Odawa ways. Que Rock calls his style “Making the woodlands dance,” and his goal is to portray ancestral teachings, sacred geometry and Laws of Nature in all his art forms. Notable works include the mural at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts and The Daniels Mural Project at University of Toronto in honour of the 215 children found in the residential school in Kamloops, B.C. His mother and father were both survivors of residential schools.
Melody Charlie grew up in the Ahousaht First Nation community, located on Flores Island, B.C. Melody has a captivating photography portfolio, from portraits to natural landscapes and black and white work. Each piece conveys more than a moment in time, narrating a story beyond the frame. She is inspired by humility, healing, fit beings & kindness.Melody is made happiest by her elder friends, hearing & understanding her language & connecting with other beings who own their “weird.”.
Philip Cote is a young Spiritual Elder, mural artist, activist, historian and Traditional Wisdom keeper of the Moose Deer Point First Nation. He is also affiliated with the Shawnee, Lakota, Potawatomi, Ojibway, Algonquin and Mohawk. Philip received his Indigenous name Noodjmowin (The Healer) in 1979 from Joe Couture and was made a member of the Falseface Society at the Seneca longhouse in 1992. Notable works include murals at Massey College (U of T), Bloordale Village, Red Door Family Shelter, and in many GTA schools.
Canadian Metis artist Teresa Young was a child prodigy who started drawing at a very young age, moved into portraiture and realism, and then developed a colourful abstract & surrealistic style. Her style is unique with an aboriginal flair. As an Indigenous artist in Canada, her artwork stands out as complex in design, organic and nature oriented with vivid colours and abstracted themes. She sells prints and digital art through her website, and has designed art that’s printed on clothing here.