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CLAYTON SAMUEL KING – WAAB SHKI MAKOONS, NEW LITTLE WHITE BEAR

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“G'chi Manidoo Giizis (Big Spirit Moon)”
Acrylic on canvas, 20" x 25"
2016

Statement:
In a time long ago, there was a group of wondering Anishinaabek travelling about from place to place in search of game. The group stopped along a steep cliff side. The hunters of the group were preparing to go and search for food, while the rest stayed behind. The old medicine man of the group had noticed a spring nearby along the rock face. In the pool of the spring he noticed a sturgeon swimming in it. He discussed this sturgeon with the elders and said that this sturgeon was not to be eaten. Before leaving on their hunting expedition, the chief and the elders had instructed the people not to eat this fish. When the Chief and hunters came back to the people with their game, they noticed that the people were not people at all anymore. Someone had cooked the sturgeon up and all the people had joined in the feast. The Chief and hunters had seen that their relatives had been transformed into Nme (sturgeon) and were flopping around on the ground, trying to make for the water of the spring. Some were fully transformed as Nme, while some were half Nme and half Anishinaabe. Being sad at what had happened, they chief and hunters took them to the spring so they would survive. This is the origin story of the mermaid/merman clan of the Anishinaabek, or Nibinabe Doodem.

These water spirits are protectors of the water, for it is a sacred medicine. This painting depicts a nibinabe kwe shining in the moon light of G'chi Manidoo or the Big Spirit Moon. It is during this moon phase that the power of Nookmis's light purifies us and helps heal all creation. This process of healing can take a few days or a few months. Just like any healing journey, patience is always required. It is during this time that we find out about the healing powers of the spirit world. It is these powers that help transform our way of life into a positive for our own vision and truth, just like the mermaid and the water. 

Bio: 
Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, I am of Potawatomi descent and a member of Beausoleil First Nation. I have been a resident of Barrie, Ontario since the fall of 2011. In April 2010 I graduated with a Fine Art Advanced Diploma from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. I paint predominantly with acrylics, but also work in photography, sculpture, graphite and traditional First Nation crafts. I perform as a Northern Traditional Pow Wow Dancer. My work has been displayed in three solo exhibitions and 22 selected group exhibitions. I contribute to the education sector in Simcoe County by giving First Nations painting and cultural interpretive workshops that help bridge an understanding of First Nations art and history to native and non- native students alike.

The common themes in my work arise from my Indigenous cultural background. They are highly influenced by the Professional Native Indian Artist Incorporated (three generations of Woodland School artists) and the sublime of nature. I do my best to interpret the knowledge that has been bestowed upon me to help sustain Anishinaabek culture and history through several artistic practices. I have begun recently to work and experiment with visible and invisible ultraviolet luminescent paint. Working in the dark is different, but the advantage of this new medium helps to heighten the spectral and metaphysical aesthetic I want to produce for the viewer. This medium is new to the Woodland Art Style.