About the artist

Colleen Gray

Born: Petawawa, OntarioArt Medium:  Ink, watercolour, digital elementsEducation: Self-taught through fearless exploration and many failed attempts. I grew up in a place made perfect by the local beach, deep-hole swamps, turtle ponds and the beauty of the Canadian Shield - sacred ground for a curious child.  I'm very proud to say my ancestry hails from the Mik'maq people in New Brunswick and from the Irish folks across the pond – I'm Metis. When I learned that my Grandpa was Mik'maq' it was cool confirmation for the way I've always felt. Finding my Native heritage didn't change anything about how I draw – ink doesn't care. But I do like the fact that my ancestry comes from a place where they knew how to live well.  A while back I'd stumbled on an article about the Hobo culture and how they developed a simple set of drawings to speak to each other, protect each other and guide each other; and I was struck at how in such a dire time, when everything other than misery was scarce, the brotherhood of man remained solid through this simple pictographic communication. Poles and bridges became the parchment of the homeless, and as I grew to learn more about my craft, I recognized the quiet solidarity between the Aboriginal People and the Hobo culture of the Great Depression. They were both people without a home wandering the country looking for a way to survive at a time when little was offered and much was taken. These two harmonies would not stop haunting me until I found a way to marry them. You'll see some of the symbols on the lower section of the print. Some of my framework details also contain Morse Code. I began playing with the designs in the framework and expanded the depth of my work in my ability to embed a message into the framework of the drawing with communication always being the underpinning of the art's true purpose.  The Art For Aid Project is my purpose; it's why I work. It has become a priority for me as an artist wanting to make a difference in Canada's Aboriginal art community. The art I create is made with an underlying purpose - to raise money to support full art supply cupboards in Canadian Aboriginal schools. The Art For Aid Project is young, but the concept of bringing people together through art is not.  Throughout humanity, art is the common thread that weaves imagination with culture to provide a beautiful gift to all the world. Miigwetch.Thanks for hearing my words,Colleen GrayArtist/FounderThe Art For Aid Project