A scarf created by Charlene George.

Bridging Canada’s culture through art

First Nations and Metis show features local Sooke artist

Charlene George’s wall hangings and fibre art speaks of ancient stories and legends, people and animal spirits. It’s a way of retaining and honouring her culture through creative expression.

George (kQwat’st’not) is a T’Sou-ke artist working primarily in textiles. She manipulates and transforms the textiles through applique, embroidery, paint and weaving.

From Sept. 28 to Oct. 21 she will be taking part in the third annual 2012 First Nations and Metis Art Show and Sale in Sidney. She is helping organize the show and thinks it is “very cool” to have so many First Nations and Metis artists in the same show.

George is Salish and  Nuu-Chah-Nulth on her father’s side and French and English on her mother’s side. She bridges both cultures and uses the history of both to influence her designs. For the show she will have some of her signature pieces — recycled and vintage textiles transformed into scarves, shawls and clothing.

“I try hard to reuse things and give them a new life,” she said. “There are cool vintage pieces I get to cut up and remake.”

She will also have a series of scarves, which are always popular with people.

The 2012 First Nations and Metis Invitational Show will have a broad range of art presented by artists from across Canada. The whole gallery, at the Sidney Community Arts Centre, Tulista Park at 5th and Weiler, will be displayed to reflect the intent and spirit of the event. Stories and music will add to the ambiance of the ever-changing show.

Two returning artists Virgil Sampson and Tobias Tomlinson are working together with the Sidney arts council to produce an outstanding quality arts show which promises to include an outstanding collection of work from both traditional and emerging artists. The diversity of art includes carving, weaving, prints, fabric art, drums, rattles, potter, beading, leatherwork, painting, jewelry and some surprises.

Each of the artists finds inspiration from their culture and their ancestors. They strive to present work which educates and influences present and future generations while defining their artistic spirit.

North West Coast First Nations represented: Debbie Hunt: Kwaguilth, Charlene George: T’Sou-ke, Rande Cooke: Kwaguilth, Carolyn Memnook: Cree/Nuu-cha-nulth, Charles Elliott: Tarslip.

Metis: Victoria Pruden, Seleca Aurica, Kevin Brophy, Lynn Henry and Carol Grenier.

Other First Nations: Jessica Bekker: Blackfoot, Gloria Valencia: Navajo, Stephanie Papil: Inuit, Lindsay Delaronde: Mohawk, Tobias Tomlinson: Chicksaw-Cherokee.

The 2012 First Nations and Metis Art Show and Sale, sponsored by the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula, will be open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.