February's Feature Artist is new member Adele Maskwa-iskwew Arseneau. Adele is a Métis/Cree acrylic artist, hand drum maker, and aspiring wood carver. Her artistic journey has included dabbling in poetry, needlework, beading, ceramics, and pottery, but she always returns to her mainstays of drawing and painting.
Adele's creative muse started from the age of two. Fascinated with the tales told by her grandparents and great-grandparents, she made it her mission to document stories with her art. The designs she uses come from the stories of her youth, fusing knowledge from her Cree heritage with that of the Carrier Sekani people whom she grew up with. She incorporates details, such as traditional ovoids, split Us, and trigon shapes, into her flowing Cree formlines in order to illustrate her totems, animals, and stories. As she explains, “People are made up of stories, whether it is the stories they hear or tell themselves. This is our world. My culture puts emphasis on stories, so I try to tell them to you in a bright, colourful, and contemporary way. This is my language, and these are my stories.”
Along the way, Adele obtained an Fine Art diploma (1995) and a Graphic Design diploma (1998), but she will be quick to tell you her best teachers were other working artists who mentored and helped her along. In the past two years, she has gone from a complete unknown in the local art scene to now having shown in galleries from North Vancouver to White Rock. Her current project is the creation of a limited series of 50 glass paintings, depicting traditional and contemporary Indigenous designs as stained glass art. These creations stem from her love of stained glass and the curious lack of traditional First Nations designs done in that medium.
Image Credit: Adele Maskwa-iskwew Arseneau, Kaskitew Maskwa (Black Bear), Acrylic on Recycled Glass, 17"x17", Artist's Collection. Photo Credit: Cindy Goodman, LMP
In-text Image Credit: Tipiyawe (One's Own), Acrylic on Canvas, 12"x24"; Pisimoyapis (Little Rainbow), Acrylic on Elk Hide, 10" Hand Drum; Maskw (Bear) Carving, Red cedar, yellow cedar trim, abalone, 14" x 8", Artist's Collection.