{Montreal Native Canadian artist and Mohawk activist, Ellen Gabriel, through her paintings and drawings, takes part in deconstructing the negative stereotypes that remain towards the first inhabitants of our land.}
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”Art has always been an integral part of my life. Like many others who chose this profession, I continue to search for new ways to express myself. For me, it is one of the most non-threatening ways to get one’s point of view across. In this day of modern technology where 30 second sound bites are given to complex stories, I try to convey something about my culture in either social or political themes which may make the viewer more inquisitive about Aboriginal people. In this way I hope that a mutual understanding and respect can come about.In the past I have attempted to dis-spell the negative stereotypes that the general public have about Aboriginal people.”

“Grandfather Speaks”:

“From the iconography that inspires me up to the concrete process of applying pigments to the canvas or paper, I feel the joy and energy of Creation through my artistic gestures. If, during this process, I can educate people about my culture and heritage, then I think I will have created works of art that go beyond producing something pleasant to look at”. Ellen Gabriel.

More than ten years after the Oka crisis, Ellen Gabriel has reconciled her memories of those events with her artistic research. On the premises of the conflict, through her depiction of the trees in the famous pine forest she has undertaken to bear witness to the deep laceration affecting her and her own people, her Québécois neighbours and wounded nature. Paradoxically, a deep feeling of serenity emanates from these pastels.

“Doda Elizabeth”: Kahonwatha Tota Elizabeth – march 2000
Pastel on Stonehenge paper (2,5 ‘ x 3,5 ‘)

Around this magnificent portrait of her grandmother, the artist invites us into the intimate circle of her own family. Here, Ellen Gabriel has chosen to explore her people’s heritage, leaving behind the baggage of modernism. It is as if she wanted to have it out with stolen memories once and for all. She communicates the core elements of her culture to us. In this way, she seeks better understanding for herself and others, and mutual respect. Through her paintings and drawings, Ellen Gabriel takes part in deconstructing the negative stereotypes that remain towards the first inhabitants of our land.

“Traditional people have no voice”
(The one called Moderate).