Encouraged by friends and family, I started painting at a young age. I made smaller commissioned work for businesses and organizations that were familiar with my enthusiasm before I ever knew I wanted to be an artist. I had many successful years of painting murals for Take Pride Winnipeg while at the same time gaining mentoring experience through those challenges. I became a coordinator at Graffiti Gallery soon after that, able to teach and guide students through art instruction and life lessons. I learned much about myself as a person and as an artist from those opportunities. I still work with at-risk, underprivileged youth, but my artistic vision is less altruistic and more intrinsic.
I would describe my art as thoughtful and precise. I am easily influenced by the Woodlands style of art, maintaining its narrative, sometimes derivative, yet contemporary quality. I find the art of Jackson Beardy to be a great source of inspiration and vision. My hope is to continue learning and sharing, as long as both are purpose and motivation in my life. After all, art is easy – it is people that are difficult.
Public Safety Parkade
171 Princess St.
ABOUT / ARTIST STATEMENT
Nibaa is Ojibwe for sleep, which also implies that a journey is taking place. We travel as our body rests and our spirit crosses over to the spirit world. The Indigenous woman here wears a wreath upon her head and the juxtaposition of the skull just below, on her neckline, indicates a balance between life and death. She is in limbo, so to speak. There is a ghosted hand covering her mouth, representing the attempt to silence, whether self-inflicted or externally imposed, there is the desire to remain silent. The work also has a controversial message, suggesting that doing nothing also causes harm, both from government and from the lack of programs, protocols and standards our nation fails to exercise. The band of three colours represents the separation of the physical and spiritual worlds. The parade of women marching across the mural represent the missing and murdered women, walking along a highway, much like the Highway of Tears. As they disappear across the bands and over to the spirit world, they are transformed into buffalo. They are free.
As part of the Seven Teachings - Respect is represented by the buffalo. The buffalo gives every part of his being to sustain the human way of living, not because she is of less value, but because she respects the balance and needs of others. Our women are sacred and must be valued.
Demolition | January 21, 2020
On January 21, 2020, "Nibaa" created by Mike Valcourt during Wall-to-Wall Mural & Culture Festival in 2017 came down at the former Public Safety Building.
This demolition came as expected, with Mike carefully considering the content painted in the mural before its creation. Nibaa was painted to honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the symbol of it crashing down was to symbolize the end the horrible streak of violence.
However, the nightmare of MMIWG2S remain and the genocide of Indigenous Peoples continues.