Edmonton’s first Indigenous Artist-in-Residence, Dawn Marie Marchand is a visual artist, author, and educator who’s been mentored by incredible artists, such as Alex Janvier, Joane Cardial-Schubert, and Jane Ashe Poitras.
WHERE: Why art? What made you want to be an artist?
Marchard: I don’t know if I chose to be an artist as much as it chose me. I didn’t take any art classes in primary or secondary school. I took a drawing class in post-secondary at Keyano College. Other people noticed it in me and encouraged me, which sent me to the Boreal Forest Institute where I met other Indigenous artists. There are many times where I don’t really want to be an artist, but I can’t seem to shut it off.
W: What themes or issues do you explore in your art?
M: I do visual storytelling. I prefer to work on Indigenous oral history and current Indigenous issues. I love learning about the ceremonies and language and strive to incorporate them respectfully. I also have done a lot of research into Treaties, Indian Residential Schools, 60s scoop, funding, governance, and colonialism. I have done a lot of artwork around the issue of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.
W: What artists or works inspire your own?
M: I have a huge list. I am very inspired by grassroots artists and artists that work in their home nations. There’s literally too many to list. I love it all—everything from very contemporary to things that adhere to strict ceremonial protocols. I think there’s room for the whole spectrum of creation within Indigenous Arts.
W: What do you hope people take away from your art?
M: I hope they think hard and differently and are seduced by beauty.
W: Where can readers view and purchase your work?
M: I have a website and a Facebook page. Most of my exhibits are announced through the Facebook page, and I usually put new work up for sale on there, too.