- Could you give us some background information about yourself?
I’m a Mi’gmaq artist from Pabineau First Nation, NB. I have three beautiful children, now adults, who are all artists in their own disciplines. I explore and practice many forms of expression, from spoken word to animation, and I enjoy every part of the creation process. I like learning more about who I am in relation to the world around me, so I think it’s natural that I try everything.
Where did you get your education concerning your discipline? Are you self-taught?
I think we are mostly creative as children. Creativity was nurtured by my family growing up, so in that way I consider myself “family-taught”. I also studied animation at NBCC Miramichi, which gave me access to formal art instruction, which definitely influenced my path.
3. What is something you wish to accomplish in the next 5 years?
I’d like to travel more and study more forms of art outside my own culture. I also want to make my mark as a documentary filmmaker.
4. What are you inspired by?
I am inspired by nature and society, and how it makes me feel. There’s something eternal, living, alive all around me. I am a part of it, and so I study all of these elements and express in any way I can. The result is what Wade Davis calls “unique manifestations of the human spirit.” I think that’s true.
What made you want to stay in your community? NB?
I stayed because I love the landscape here. I could bring my children to beaches or draw with them in the park all day. My earlier years were very home-based. I’ve never felt New Brunswick was a hard place to explore. It’s home, beautiful, and I like it that I can enjoy nature without touristy gimmicks. It’s natural and free here.
- Have you found the resources provided by ArtsLink NB to be helpful?
Yes, I’ve found Artslink NB to be fresh, current and on the pulse of arts in NB. They’re an important facilitator of growth in our province. Very thankful to be a part of it.
What is a highlight of your career so far?
A highlight was attending New Year’s Eve celebrations in Ottawa/Hull last year as Canada 150 Ambassador representing New Brunswick, in the discipline of Artist. I spent the day taking in art at the National Gallery of Canada, which was completely magical and informative. I was infused by so much amazing energy. Then I spent the evening at the Museum of History watching stellar performances by Indigenous artists, and I met Susan Aglukark! I felt like a rock star.
8. What is a quote you try to live by?
“That’s what I consider true generosity: You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.”
― Simone de Beauvoir
- Where are some of the coolest places you’ve been with your music?
I’ve performed on the Main Stage at the Skydome in Toronto, and I’ve been out west, but the coolest place I’ve ever performed is a small community named Rigolet in Labrador. A whale swims into the bay and it’s like whole place sparkles! They had a home-cooked turkey dinner when I arrived with my brother to perform. The main community center is the school. There’s no crime there, and a super appreciation for art and music. The people were so kind and beautiful. That was my impression. One address for the entire community. It was the coolest.
What is a challenge you’ve been faced with and how did you overcome it?
I was hospitalized in March with a condition called vestibular neuritis, which involved severe vertigo and debilitation. I have spent the spring and summer gradually recovering through physiotherapy exercises. My balance was severely affected, and I sometimes feel like I’m still on a boat. My biggest worry in the hospital was that I wouldn’t be able to paint again. I’ve had to work hard to train my brain to urge my other senses to take over for my inner ear. I’m thankful to say that I feel like I’m 90% recovered. The 10% left is for the times I wake up and things feel wobbly or I’m walking and I feel like I am on an elevator. I keep moving and fight it. Combating this illness has disciplined me. I’m thrilled to be able to say I have just completed three paintings for an upcoming exhibit. It’s the best feeling! I’m more grateful for every moment I can share, learn, and create. I feel like I’m onto the next level in life, and my energy is spiked to the hilt!