By Erica Commanda
TORONTO – There will be 18 multi-talented, high profile First Nations artists showcasing their diverse body of work for the third annual Indigenous and Ingenious Sale and Show at the Ralph Thornton Centre, just east of Broadview on Queen Street East in Toronto this weekend.
One of the featured artists is emerging talent Summer Faith Garcia from Walpole Island First Nation. “I think people can expect something that’s different. A lot of what I’m creating is handcrafted arts in glass, so you will be picking up a piece of that is very unique,” she says.
This will be Garcia’s first time showcasing her work at Indigenous and Ingenious. While she works in many different mediums including photography, make-up, installations and digital imagery, she will be displaying her work in stained glass art and jewellery for people to purchase. Her inspiration with her work in stained glass is vibrant colours. “It’s something that I’ve just been fascinated with since I was a little girl,” she explains. “Especially high contrasting oversaturated colours. It feels like candy to me when I see it in glass.”
Some of her stained glass art includes encasing different objects like snakeskin or woodlands style floral patterns. “My creative process is just exploring,” she says. “Right now, I still feel like I’m finding my ground with what I want my style to be. I’m excited to be making these pieces work like that as well.”
Garcia’s first venture into art was when she was eleven years old when she picked up her first copy of Vogue Magazine. She was immediately intrigued by the styles and techniques she saw used by the makeup artists in the magazine. Soon after, she started mimicking and experimenting and teaching herself the artistry behind makeup. Since then, she has applied this type of learning with the other art mediums she would soon work with – learning the basics first, then expanding her knowledge through experimentation. For stained glass specifically, she went to Fantasy In Glass in Toronto to take a couple of courses and then taught herself how to make jewelry out of it.
Indigenous and Ingenious will also celebrate other high profile Indigenous artists including Anishinaabe mural artist Chief Lady Bird; Jay Soule a.k.a Chippewar; Clayton Samuel King, who works in paint, photography and sculpture; Haudenosaunee mural artist Monique Bedard a.k.a Auralast; and Brian Wright-Mcleod, whose encyclopedia on Indigenous music artists formed the basis for the widely screened documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World.
Food will be prepared by a team lead by Suzanne Smoke (Anishinaabe), who will be cooking up traditional dishes using buffalo meat, corn and wild rice. Throughout the day there will be a hand drumming performance by Shandra Spears Bombay from Rainy River First Nation.
Indigenous performance and art is power. In a time when Indigenous artists struggle to gain recognition in mainstream society, it’s art shows like Indigenous and Ingenious, that help create important platforms for these artists to promote their work and for people to support them. What better Christmas present to gift a loved one than something handcrafted meticulously that conveys Indigenous culture in an authentic way? “It supports the community, it supports Indigenous artists,” explains Garcia. “This is a great way to have our stuff be seen and show how unique our culture can be.”