Right after the OOAK show:
Indigenous & Ingenious is an intriguing showcase of traditional and contemporary design aesthetics. It brings together four talented Indigenous artists. Jason Jenkins, Barbra Nahwegahbow, Mike Ormsby and Naomi Smith are unique artists who draw on their Aboriginal heritage in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. Their work, comprised of photographs, art cards, traditional beadwork, paintings and high-fashion jewellery will be on sale.
Just like the diversity in his life, Jason is the perfect mix. Of Ojibway-African and French heritage, Jason’s artistic path of cultural rediscovery has seen him build 15 years of experience as a multi-disciplinary artist. He’s a photographer, curator and DJ, and is the founder and creative producer for Toronto-based Going on Dreams, a company that has carved a place in the city’s competitive arts and entertainment industry in just six years.
He’s shot professionally for such events as the Irie Festival, imagineNATIVE, NXNE and Manifesto, and he’s also shot photographic stills on television and film sets, including the critically-acclaimed Empire of Dirt, a film that premiered at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. Jason has had both solo and group exhibitions. His photos are on display at Keriwa Café on Queen Street in Toronto. RasDigenous, a series that looks at the similarities between Rastafari and Indigenous cultures will tour with the documentary Rasta starring the granddaughter of Bob Marley, Donisha Prendergast. Jason’s curatorial debut project (2010), Red Runners was re-mounted in the Bata Shoe Museum for Planet IndigenUS in 2012.
Barb is Ojibway, born and raised in a family of 11 children on the Whitefish River First Nation near Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario. Her father supported the family by trapping, working as a fishing guide and doing pretty well any other kind of work that was available. Barb began designing jewellery several years ago and is largely self-taught. Having lived and worked in Toronto for many years, her designs are influenced by the urban environment and the more natural environment in which she grew up.
Barb loves to both design and wear bold and unique pieces that combine unexpected components. She uses semi-precious and precious gemstones and combines them with wood, nuts, seeds and seeds, or porcelain, resin, hand-felted or metal accent pieces. Vintage finds from antique markets also make their way into her designs.
Barb was commissioned by indie fashion designer Sage Paul to design jewellery for Synaptic City, Sage’s 2012 fall ready-to-wear collection. Jewellery designed by Barb was featured in a recent fashion show in Grimsby. Georgina Arts Centre & Gallery in Sutton, Thrill of the Find in Toronto’s Leslieville, and Nestje in Beamsville are some of the places that sell her jewellery. In addition to being a jewellery artist, Barb is a community activist and writer. Barb’s work and her blog may be viewed at: http://www.bluedawnjewellery.com.
Mike is primarily a visual artist and works in oils and acrylics, and digital and graphic design. He also works with wood, creating things like canoes, snowshoes and cradleboards, and carves in antler, stone and wood. Largely self-taught, Mike was mentored by the late Anishnabe artist Norman Knott. He worked with 7th Generation Image Makers when it was first formed and has been involved in arts workshops for youth. Through his art, writing and storytelling, Mike tells the story of the Anishnabek, sharing the culture, teachings and traditions.
“I believe that art is more than just a window into the soul,” says Mike. “I believe that the arts can be a way to better understand ourselves, each other, and to know about our culture and traditions. To know where one is going, one must know where one has come from.”
Naomi is a Native Artisan and Educator. An early awareness of her First Nations heritage forged a strong interest in Native American beadwork, adornment and textiles. She is actively involved in educating others about the ways of the First Nations people of the Woodlands and Northeastern area from a historical and contemporary perspective often through the story of beads. For over 15 years Naomi has designed and created traditional Native Beadwork, Leather craft, Moose Hair Embroidery, Quill work, Sweetgrass or birch bark basket making and adornment, always valuing these Sacred materials throughout her creative process.
Naomi says, “Honouring our traditions is my voice within and beyond my Culture and Community. Traditionally there is no word for “art” in Native languages yet artistry and visual expression are critical in defining who we are as First Nations people. It is this path I wish to exemplify through my teachings and my work.”