In an attempt to encourage one another, two cousins decided to launch Cedar Sage and Sweetgrass, a collective for First Nations, Inuit and Metis artists to come together and exhibit their works.
For the first time, they are going to be exhibiting at the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery starting Saturday.
MaryAnne Lindberg is one of the founders.
As a Metis artist, she struggled to find venues to exhibit her artwork.
“My cousin (Pat Calihou) and I started cedar sage a number of years ago. We were finding that it was difficult sometimes to find venues where galleries would want to show our art so we decided to form this collective so we could show our art together and encourage one another,” said Lindberg.
They launched the collective in 2018 at 100 Braid St. Art Studio in New Westminster and haven’t looked back since.
But the journey hasn’t been easy for Indigenous artists like Lindberg.
She submitted her artwork to an ensemble show which was rejected. She believes it happened because it was Indigenous-themed.
“All my art got rejected and I spoke to other Indigenous artists and they had similar experiences. And I thought, ‘We need to come together.’”
For this show, 16 artists are coming together from First Nation, Inuit and Metis communities.
It’s also a full circle moment for them.
There was a time when they were “begging venues” to showcase their works. Now, they are receiving calls from art galleries who are paying them to showcase their work.
This year also marks their achievement of having done a dozen shows across British Columbia and they said they hope to showcase their work across the country in the future.
Arts and crafts including beaded jewellery, carvings, acrylic paintings, carved paddles, painted drums and Metis-style painted fiddles will be part of the exhibition.
For each one of them, this collective is like family. It’s a learning experience, with camaraderie at the centre of it.
“How can something like this not succeed when it’s all people encouraging one another and it’s really great camaraderie and people building up one another?”
The exhibit is scheduled to run till October 23, 2022.