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The Métis in Western Canada: O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk

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The BeginningsThe People and Their CommunitiesCulture and Lifeways

As in many other forms of creative expression, there are many active Métis artists working with an interest in presenting their experiences and their culture.

Among these artists is the painter Christi Belcourt who paints works that reflect the natural work of the Métis people. Her paintings are presented a strong clear colours and designs.

Jim Swift works in acrylic with canvases that are often three by four feet. He has done a great deal of photography and some sculpture. Peter Howlett produces works that reflect the holistic healing of the mind, spirit and the body as it is understood by the Ojibwa. He has produced paintings of Aboriginal dancers.

Working with mixed mediums, David Hannan has produced works that have been published in periodicals and participates in exhibitions featuring Aboriginal arts. He has also had solo shows like one at the Indian and Inuit Art Gallery 101 in Ottawa. Hannan’s focus has been on the history and culture of the Métis people.

The Métis airbrush artist Robin Paré was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta and paints snowmobile, hockey, and motorcycle helmets, vehicles, and t-shirts. Ric and Rose Richards are Métis carvers work with such materials as Woolly Mammoth tusks, moose antlers to produce jewellery. The couple also incorporate gold and stones, particularly lapis lazuli and red pipestone. Their designs often reflect the natural world.

Sherry Farrell Racette produces works that explore both historical and contemporary Métis culture. She has had her work published in The Flower Beadwork People, which she also wrote. In the book, Stories of the Road Allowance People that was translated from Mitchif by Maria Campbell, Racette produced the illustrations.

Art has provided many Métis people with a form of expression for their experiences and history. It is a strong and growing tradition that will continue to bring the Métis culture to others.

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