A local artist is looking to add some colour into lives of Indigenous youth.
Earl McKay, a painter originally from the Cumberland House Cree Nation is hoping to organize a collective of young Indigenous artists from around Saskatchewan.
McKay said the groundwork for the collective has been laid; he has people to help him with marketing and business. Now, the group is working towards a studio gallery which would feature the work of Indigenous youth.
“My job is to go out and look for artists, quality artists,” McKay said. “Artists who want to display their work... There's nothing around here for local artists, there's nothing for a native artist to go display his stuff.”
While McKay is a painter, he said he is looking for a wide variety of artists for his collective. He said he'd like traditional crafts such as beading, hidework, birchbark biting and more.
“We're not looking for artists that have connections, or live in the city,” McKay said. “'Cause they have connections; they know where to go and where to get the funding.”
He said his hometown of Thompson, Manitoba never had a store which could provide the adequate supplies to paint. He often had to make trips to Winnipeg, or order supplies and wait for freight shipping.
He said he hopes to overcome this challenge which youth may have in more isolated portions of the province.
“We're looking for artists who are in remote communities, who have no access to canvas, or paints, or anything like that,” McKay said.
Along with helping youth access art supplies, he's also interested in providing workshops, either virtually or in person in these same communities.
He said one of the people handling the marketing was surprised to find a lack of hand crafts while she was in Prince Albert. McKay said he ultimately hopes his collective becomes known for providing “quality native art products.”
Remote communities aside, McKay is also willing to teach youth on a local level. He said he's had a few mentees over the years, and wants to continue passing off his knowledge.
“I want to find a young person who is artistic, who wants to learn how to do art,” McKay said. “It can be on canvas, it can be on skulls, something pertaining to that, something relating to both.”
McKay currently has a small studio set up in Anglers, where he works upwards of 10 hours a day. He said any youth who are interested are more than welcome to visit him while he works.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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