Dawn Marie Marchand art unveiled at Edmonton City Hall

Dawn Marie Marchand is a Cree and Metis artist who was honoured in June, 2023 for her incredible artwork that is permanently displayed at Edmonton City Hall. Marchand is one of four Indigenous artists whose artwork now lives in the city council chambers.

As a part of the The City of Edmonton’s Indigenous Framework, Marchand’s piece is a part of a collection of completed artworks that embody how City leaders and staff should strive to honour the spirit of kinship, the Indigenous Framework roles and commitments, and how to be a good relative to each other and to the land.

“I’m grateful that there was a well-rounded engagement process,” says Marchand.  “The intent of the artwork is for City staff to put these teachings into practice in the workplace.”

Dawn Marie Marchand is a member of Cold Lake First Nation in Treaty Six territory. cîpêhcakwawêw-iskwêw (Blue Horse Spirit Woman).  In mid 2019, she relocated to Smoky Lake, Alberta and has had work installed at Concordia College, Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre, Stanley Milner EPL, PÎYÊSÎW WÂSKÂHIKAN.

She also had her work projected as part of Dreamspeakers Light Strikes in numerous locations including Dubai and has recently had work projected as part of the Land Acknowledgement during the Junos celebrations in 2023. She was the artist consultant for Punctuate! Theatre’s ​“First Métis Man of Odessa” which is currently touring nationwide.

Passionate about equality and opportunities for her community, Marchand continues to advocate for removing systemic barriers for Indigenous artists across Canada. She has worked with urban youth through art integration and her community collaboration work has been featured at events such as the Edmonton Folk Festival, the Works International Visual Arts Festival Big Tent and Rubaboo Festival.

In 2016, Marchand created thought provoking, emotional art as a personal tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women.  Visitors had the opportunity to walk through the pop-art exhibition and take in one of her pieces called “Prayers for my Sisters.”  The installation included 12 birch sticks, each with ribbons, marking the Cree colours of Treaty 6 territory.

“I’ve had my own personal life touched by violence. I could very easily have been one of these women,” said Marchand.

As the first ever Indigenous artist in residence for the City of Edmonton during the time of the pop-up, she intended that her art would stop to make visitors think of the horrific violence against Indigenous women and girls across the country.

Marchand was recently the artist consultant for Punctuate! Theatre’s ​“First Métis Man of Odessa” which is currently touring nationwide.

To learn more about Dawn Marie Marchand and her art, visit https://www.dawnmariemarchand.net/

Artist Jordan Ernst unveils mural at Edmonton Police Services Headquarters

Last month, artist Jordan Ernst was honoured with the unveiling of his mural at Edmonton Police Service (EPS) headquarters to mark and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. The ceremony included drumming and singing as visitors were able to take in Jordan’s art – a spray painting depiction of a Woodpecker, which means Papachase in Cree language.

Ernst is a Métis artist who grew up on the plains of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. As a youth he enjoyed pro-skating and building his own skateboards.

However, in his highschool years, Ernst suddenly fell into the wrong crowd and was a part of “graffiti crews.” Gangs who come together and illegally vandalize public spaces and buildings with graffiti. Eventually Jordan’s affiliation with this group took an unfortunate turn.

“These associations for me eventually lead to my gang involvement and further enhanced my identity crisis,” says Ernst.  “During my last stint incarcerated I was dealt all the difficult cards one could imagine.”

While incarcerated Jordan was able to continue his highschool education and three years later after being released and living on his own, Ernst found himself working three jobs at the age of 17 and still attending school. He successfully  graduated with high honours, however the journey was not easy.

“The experience was necessary for me to develop the character traits I now possess,” says Ernst.

A pivotal moment came for Jordan when a friend offered to present his artwork to the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery.  The gallery accepted his work and created a new chapter for Jordan to tap into his hidden talents as a true creative artist.

“For the first time in my life I had been labeled “Artist” by someone of merit,” he says. “As an artist for over a decade now I believe you must go places within your mind first before you put pen to paper.”

Jordan is now a proud lead graffiti artist at Graffiti Salad, a business located in Edmonton, that transforms commercial and private properties into colourful, vibrant works of art through murals. Ernst also sells custom apparel on the website at grafittisalad.com.

By Deidre Thomas, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 25, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Alberta Native News   Edmonton, Alberta

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