We Aspire: An exhibit of work by Métis artists in Niagara

We Aspire
Promotional artwork from the Niagara Artists Centre
advertising the We Aspire exhibit. Click here for 
larger picture.

Submitted by MNO Niagara Region President Derrick Pont with information from: https://nac.org/exhibitions/we-aspire-an-exhibit-of-work-by-metis-artists-in-niagara-sat-9-sept-2017/

The work of four Métis artists including three Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizens is currently being exhibited at the Niagara Artists Centre in Niagara. The exhibit started on September 9 and will run until September 22. The Exhibit entitled We Aspire honours the tradition of Métis dot art and bead work; the custom of bead patterning was traditionally used by the Métis to adorn their clothing.

“The Métis were known as the ‘flower bead people;’ my art is intended to honour the skills and artistry of my ancestors by using traditional and historic bead patterns as the inspiration for my work,” stated Brian Kon, MNO citizen and one of the artists featured in the exhibit. Brian has a passion for preserving the culture and history of Métis people by creating modern versions of historic bead patterns traditionally used by Métis.

Sterling Kon is another MNO citizen and artist whose work was featured in We Aspire. Sterling is a proud Métis artist and entrepreneur who grew up in the Niagara region. In 2017, his work was displayed internationally at festivals in Canada and as far away as Ethiopia. Sterling finds inspiration from both the traditions of the Métis and modern works.

We Aspire also featured the work of Amanda Pont-Shanks, an MNO citizen and graduate of Niagara College in Art and Design. Her art is inspired by Métis traditions and memories of her great-grandfather’s garden in Beamsville. She works in several mediums including painting, beadwork, drawing and paper art.

Julia Simone was the fourth artist featured in We Aspire.  She is an emerging artist from École Notre Dame de la Jeunesse in Niagara Falls and is currently the Artist-in-Residence for a not-for-profit organization called Seedling for Change.  She collaborated on a logo design, featured in the show, for one of their current projects, Share Peace, Discover Niagara River.

We Aspire opened in conjunction with Where the Weather Happens: An Exhibit of Contemporary Métis Art, which also featured Métis artists including MNO citizen Jason Baerg.  Jason’s work along with that of Jaime Koebel and Sheri Nault activate the land and sky, and all that is within, through their intimate and delicate expression of deep connection to this space of energetic flux. Where The Weather Happens is an expression of the relationship and interactions between the land and sky as beings who live within this space.

We Aspire is presented by the Niagara Artists Centre with support from the MNO Niagara Region Métis Council and in partnership with Celebration of Nations and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

Posted: September 18, 2017

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