The unique style and impact of Indigenous fine artist Donald Chrétien springs from his combined passion for colour and woodland-style expression. His ongoing exploration of his heritage has him concentrating on distinct features of Ojibwe clans acrylic on canvas.
YRAC’s Experience Trail is here to “Spread excitement and pollinate some goodness”
Donald Chretien believes there’s an artist in each and everyone of us.
He points to the rise of the selfie as evidence.
“Everyone has a camera nowadays,” he began, “Everywhere you go, you see folks composing images that they want to share. Most of them work pretty hard to make a good image, so good for them.”
Mr. Chretien is a nationally-recognized Indigenous fine artist who resided in Newmarket for 30 years and created many connections to York Region through his art. He is working on a new project with the York Region Arts Council and experienceyorkregion.com’s Experience Trail program that will invite folks in York Region to explore, discover and engage in his art and share it through “digital mediums”.
Monica del Rio Pain, Program Curator at the York Region Arts Council (YRAC), is thrilled to commission Mr. Chretien’s series that encompasses his Ojibwe learnings of the Medicine Wheel and celebrates the seed spreaders and pollinators of Mother Earth. The circular shaped art pieces are designed to provide people the opportunity to be part of the art, be part of the story and to re-connect with York Region through photos, art and storytelling.
“The Experience Trail is all about re-connecting people through York Region’s diverse attractions,” Ms. Pain said. “We wanted to create an element of the program that celebrates all there is to do across the region and encourage art as a way to share and connect these experiences with each other in a safe way.
“I want people to be a part of the art,” Mr. Chretien began. “They’re going to be about seven feet high and people will be invited to stand in front of it and become a part of the work. It should make for some great selfies.”
Making and sharing photos of personal experiences on the #ExperienceYR trail lends itself to the pollinator concept perfectly. These images are “planted” on a virtual platform, for sharing and sparking connections that contribute to the growth of York Regions’ story with a global audience.
“Most of the images in this series are from the forest,” Mr. Chretien said. “I love the forest – as you walk in the forest, you become aware of the re-emerging patterns and connections. I’ve learned as an artist to view the world with eyes wide open. I’m hoping people will approach this trail with that in mind – go with eyes wide open and experience the works and the locations where they are. I hope people will get back outside and I hope these works will help them feel like exploring and discovering – to spread excitement and pollinate some goodness.
This project was funded in part by the government of Ontario’s Reconnect Festival and Event Program.