Art speaks in a language of sharing in seek of understanding one another or in seek of an answer
Natalie Sappier – Aboriginal Outreach Officer
The demand for Atlantic Aboriginal Art is on a rise! Not only are the galleries seeking Aboriginal artists but even the visitors traveling into the Province are on a hunt for ethnic Wabanaki traditional fine craft and art! For the past year artsnb has been working towards providing support to the Aboriginal Artists here in New Brunswick by sharing the opportunities through our organization but also sharing what is available through other organizations regionally and nationally. During my travels to the First Nation communities as an Aboriginal Outreach Officer I have reached over 200 Aboriginal artists and I know for a fact there is more out there!
Most grants require exhibitions, public displays, well documented work, strong project ideas which require you to be able to write about who you are as artist, what you plan on doing in this project, why this project is important to you and where this will take you in your career. Some of these 200 plus artists are ready for grants such as a Creation grant, which allows you to focus on the development of a project and/or do research. But the majority of the artists are not ready for this grant because they do not have an exhibition background, but that’s ok. They eventually will.
This year we partnered up with the Province’s two other arts organizations ArtslinkNB and AAAPNB “Association acadienne des artistes professionnel.le.s du Nouveau-Brunswick” to develop our Career Planning workshop that traveled into the First Nation communities. The workshop focused on digging within yourself to truly discover who you want to be as an artist, the art you want to create and goals you are reaching towards. We spoke about networking, documenting work, artists’ statements, how to build an artist resumes, mentors and self-motivation.
Yes there is a demand for Aboriginal work from these talented artists but what is important is for them to know why they do what they do, and where they want to go with it; to fulfill their own dreams and help continue their passionate career within the arts. First Nation artists have a collaborative nature, and are always working with other artists within or outside their community. They carry a unity of sharing their journey with others, especially the youth. So the artsnb Aboriginal Arts Capacity Program launched this fall was the perfect stepping stone to help the communities work on a project together and also bring in other artists to collaborate with.
Collaboration is like a gathering, a celebration! Not only is this beautiful to see in our First Nation communities but it is beautiful to see throughout the Province. Which is one of the reasons why we asked ArtsLink NB and AAAPNB to come meet the Aboriginal artist’s. For us all to connect. We are here sharing this land together. It is time for us to share our stories together. Strengthen friendships and create a stronger unity.
Art is an inner voice that may only be spoken silently though a painting or a basket. But it speaks in a language of sharing in seek of understanding one another or in seek of an answer. As Aboriginal artists we speak much of protecting our lands, our waters and our language. Well let’s share this with everyone through art so our voice becomes louder. In hopes that not only it will it awaken us who are fighting, but also awaken the ones who can help us fight.