Geoff McMurchy Artist Development Grant 2021 Recipient Announcement

Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture would like to announce the selection of Nehiyaw/Métis visual / graphic artist, beader, carver and storyteller, Adele ᒪᐢᑿᓱᐏᐢᑵᐤ Arseneau
as our 2021 Geoff McMurchy Artist Development Grant Winner!

We received an overwhelming amount of strong applications, which made this year’s decision a difficult one! We were particularly impressed by Adele’s breadth of work, incredible skill across artistic practices and impactful use of storytelling.

My work is all about stories. We are our stories we hear and tell each other, this is our world. My culture put emphasis on stories, now I’m trying to tell them to you in a bright, colourful and contemporary way.” This is my language, these are my stories. “ Kininaskometin (thank you), maskwasowiskwew ᒪᐢᑿᓱᐤᐃᐢᑵᐤ

About The Artist

A disabled Nehiyaw/Métis visual artist, Adele creates work around storytelling and engages the audience to consider cultural appropriation, along with social and environmental issues. Her intent is to educate from an indigenous perspective and counteract current stereotypes.

Born in BC, far from her family’s traditional territory of Northern Saskatchewan, the significance of the place and culture in which she was raised is now an integral part of her story. Adopted Luk sil loo Clan, Dakelh; she also incorporates the traditional art practices of her adopted family into the flowing lines of her Nehiyaw/Métis style to create her digital designs. Previously a painter, Adele now uses the mediums of beadwork, woodcarving and digital art to reclaim her displaced heritage and language. She has completed a hide tanning residency with Crowsnest Wildcraft, the Reconciliation Carving program at Langara, and holds diplomas in Fine Art and Graphic Design. She is currently working on a residency with the Vancouver Roundhouse Community Centre where she will be mentoring people via video in the art of beadwork and helping them connect with their own traditions.

Currently, she is a member of North Van Arts, Seymour Art Gallery, and CARFAC. Since2015, her work has shown in galleries from North Vancouver to White Rock, including public art with the City of Vancouver. Dedicated to reconnecting with her culture, she looks forward to where her artistic journey is going to take her.

Instagram:  @metiscaron
Twitter: @CaronMetis

Every Bead a Breath, 2020

Handmade Covid Art Mask

Medium: Moosehide, buffalo hide, hand carved yellow cedar, horsehair, antique abalone buttons, antique charlottes, miyuki beads, ocean jasper, hand woven arrow sash.

As an indigenous woman, I’ve largely passed through this existence feeling like I have no voice. Most of my art has been focused on creating around the endangered stories of others, to put them up on the proverbial soapbox, making them personable and real. It never occurred to me to tell my own story, with its roots so intertwined with this land now called Canada. All of my portrait carvings reflect this journey, with most of them only having the suggestion of a mouth. My hands do the speaking as they create the pieces I make. Using everything I am given, like my kohkoms before me. Appreciating the materials, and the memories they bring. Each piece is like a reflection, capturing a moment in my life. Beading my anxiety away, each bead a breathe. Each stitch sewing me back into my culture, bringing with it remembering, intertwining me with my roots, making me stronger and more whole. Several elements come from family stories, the arrow sash – to remember how my family stood alongside One Arrow and his Nation before the territories became Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Buffalo hide to remember the bull taken at Pink Mountain where my father was Captain of the Hunt. Abalone buttons passed down through the family from mother to daughter, traded from the coast to the prairies and now returned. Horse hair and flower beadwork to honour my nehiyaw mother and my Métis father. Ocean Jasper and the blue palette – as air and water walk hand in hand and we cannot live without either. Everything has a place in this world, like beads – we do best when we are put where we can shine. It’s all part of a larger picture, this is how something small can impact something larger than ourselves. We all need to tell our stories, because someone out there needs to hear them.

Property of the artist

Mistahi Maskwa, 2021

Medium: hand carved yellow cedar

In my research to discover photo’s of my family, I discovered that some of my relations stood with Mistahi Maskwa in the battle of Frog Plain. I have no photos of those relations but I did have a photo of Mistahi maskwa – Big Bear. So I carved this to remember my family and as a commission for a “bear” mask.

Private Commission

Summer J-Pod, 2019

Medium: digitally created graphic on vinyl

What do you see when you look at this? What do you feel? An icon of Vancouver wildlife, we are proud of having Killer Whales (Orcas) in our waters. Symbolizing family, romance, longevity, harmony, travel, community and protection. Orcas often stay their whole life with the same pod. They travel in large family groups, working together to protect all their members. Unfortunately, it’s with a sad heart that our Southern Orca pod is now classified as endangered. Threats to their existence come from human disturbance, toxicity, oil spills, entanglement in fishing gear, collision with vessels and accidental stranding. It is my hope that the beauty of this design will inspire to create change to support these majestic animals.

Commissioned by the City of Vancouver

Atihk – Caribou, 2019

Medium: digitally created graphic for cards and prints

Caribou has special meaning to me. It’s the clan I belong to of my adopted family. Their traditional territories are North of Fraser Lake in BC. We respect Caribou for all the gifts it gives us. Food that helped us survive, hides to keep us warm, bones for tools and art. It’s very sad, that the continuing of global warming has such an impact on the caribou herds. There are no more caribou where I grew
up and the northern herds are diminished to less than 100,000 individuals. They can no longer graze properly because of constant harassment by insects. The winters no longer get cold enough to reduce the pests. Now the caribou are constantly on the move and in danger of starving to death or dying of mange instead of living their lives out. How can people say there is no global warming when they hae not witnessed these things. Only once everything is gone and there are no more resources to extract and pollute our Earth with, will they realize their money won’t be worth anything.

Property of the artist.

Steel Free, 2019

Medium: hand carved old growth red cedar mounted on reclaimed cottonwood burl.

This hand carved steelhead salmon was commissioned by a fisherman who has noticed and wanted a piece to speak to the decline of wild salmon stock. It’s modelled after the steelhead I witness in Dana Creek up north of Mackenzie, BC. As a kid, there were so many salmon, one could walk across on their backs. It is no longer like that due to environmental poisons and overfishing.

Private Commission.

A Mother’s Journey Ácimowina Waspisona, 2020

Medium: vintage beads, buttons, porcupine quills, and swarovsky crystals on green stroud

We all have adversity that we face in our lives. But it’s our actions in the face of adversity which indicates our future path. Called resilience, for some of us, t is how we live our lives on a daily basis. Mother’s are required to be resilient, to be adaptable, to be flexible. Not only do they have to manage their own lives but they have to bear witness to that of their children. They weather the storms, looking for the patches of sunlight that make their journey so worthwhile. All the while, polishing the sharp edges of character to become something beautiful. We all bloom, just in different ways. Celebrate that.

Donated to The Mossbag Project

Bear Woman Medicine Drum

A Note From Kickstart…

A Note From Kickstart……

THANK YOU, to all of the artists who applied this year – we were amazed to receive just over double the amount of applications for the award this year! We are absolutely thrilled to have awarded our GMADG for the 2nd year, and to have been able to award the recipient with an even larger cash reward than in 2020. This was due to the generosity of attendees and art sales from Time-Lapse: Posthumous Conversations, a retrospective of the life’s work of Kickstart’s founding Artistic Director Geoff McMurchy that took place at the SUM Gallery in late 2020/early 2021. Kickstart is proud to continue it’s tradition of advocating for the disability arts community, and look forward to continuing to grow our grant in the years to come!

Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture gratefully acknowledges the work and support of its Board and staff, artistic community consultants, and all of the artist applicants in honouring Geoff McMurchy’s legacy.

The Geoff McMurchy Artist Development Grant was established by former Kickstart Artistic Director Yuri Arajs to honour the legacy of Kickstart’s founding Artistic Director, the late Geoff McMurchy, a pioneer in the disability arts community in Canada, who advocated for the equal representation and recognition of artists with disabilities in the broader arts and culture sectors. In this first year, the Grant received an exceptional number of applications from emerging to established artists working in visual, performing, and literary arts. The selection committee highlights this response as a strong indicator of outstanding and trail-blazing work produced by this province’s artists and reinforcing the necessity for continued advocacy of the disability arts community

About Kickstart Disability Arts

Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture is a Vancouver based arts non-profit that supports and promotes artists who identify as living with disabilities.

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