Why I Started to Paint
I think that it is important to explain why this artist has such an interest in subjects that others may find too serious or even heart-wrenching.
I have always been drawing my whole life, I remember as far back as kindergarten when I began to see the beauty in color. In the beginning I painted portraits for I was very intrigued by the eyes of my subjects. The eyes is where the soul lives and for me to challenge myself to capture a person's essence in the eyes gave me a great sense of accomplishment.
As I got older and issues from my past began to come into focus with the announcement of the Residential School Issues, it was then that I found myself on an island of despair. It was then that I started painting eyeless faces. I also started to paint people in situations that I longed for as a child. I found solace in painting children interacting with adults, parents, grandparents, and members of whole communities healing together.
This has been the main focus of my work ever since and it is with heavy responsibility and courage that I keep painting like this. I think that it is important to understand where my inspiration comes from and that is in the form of prayers for the People. For the men woman and children who make up our communities. I love my people and I believe that trough love is where we will find our footing and our strengths once again.
> Read part 7 in the series.
> Read part 7 in the series.
Above illustration: "Medicine Faces", acrylic on canvas, 2014. These tattood faces are a record of my dreams. My journey. Another Self Portrait done in a style unlike other self portraits.
To view some of my work please visit our website.
About the authors/artists:
Simone McLeod (her traditional name is Aki’-egwaniizid, which is an Ojibwe name meaning "Earth Blanket") is a Cree/Anishinaabe painter and poet, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1962. She belongs to he Name doodem (Sturgeon clan) of her mother's people, the Azaadiwi-ziibi Nitam-Anishinaabeg (Poplar River First Nation) of Manitoba. Simone descends from a long line of Midewiwin seers and healers and artists. Her artwork has been appreciated by several art collectors and educational and health care institutions from Canada, as well as by art lovers from all over the world.
Zhaawano Giizhik, an American currently living in the Netherlands, was born in 1959 in North Carolina, USA. Zhaawano has Anishinaabe blood running through his veins; the doodem of his ancestors from Baawiting (Sault Ste. Marie, Upper Michigan) is Waabizheshi, Marten. As an artist and a writer and a jewelry designer, Zhaawano draws on the oral and pictorial traditions of his ancestors. In doing so he sometimes works together with kindred artists. He has done several art projects with Simone and hopes to continue to do so in the future.
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