The Boiling Kettle
" Kanniganskakoe" (leaders) oil painting , 6 x 8 feet reflects the modern times and history of Nothern Quebec Cree community in Waswanipi.
From left to right Cree community members, Maggie Saganash, Jerry Gull, Dennis Saganash, Historical figure Billy Diamond, Clifford Saganash, Kenny Trapper.
This project is partially born out of the responsibility I feel as a Canadian, towards Indigenous nations, when it comes to "reconciliation". Although I believe the idea of reconciliation can at times be watered down to simply signify largely symbolic acts that ultimately a really just meant to make Canadians feel better about ourselves, I still feel that it is my duty to engage and enact reconciliation in my own deeper way, and encourage other to do the same, for it is the dispossession of Indigenous people that allows us to occupy and prosper on this land.
The journey to Waswanipi, was at the invitation of my friend Romeo Saganash and with the support of knowledge keepers/community members Jerry Gull and Marjorie Icebound. Romeo and I first met in 2018, after his presentation in the House, where he famously stated "Justin Trudeau doesn't give a sh*t about Indigenous people". Him speaking his unabashed truth to power inspired me to paint his portrait. This led to our meeting, sharing of stories and eventually forming a friendship. As a result of our friendship and Romeo's appreciation for my artistry, he invited me to join him in a visit to his home community in Waswanipi Quebec. This was a long, difficult trip, which birthed the early stages of this project, and inspired the name 'The Boiling Kettle'.
Romeo was a residential school survivor, NDP leader, the first Cree man in Quebec to receive a law degree. He made an ever-lasting impression on me.
Through this Journey and the making of ‘The Boiling Kettle’ it is my purpose and belief that this project will contribute to the education, promote unity, and reconcile messages filled with truth and hope. Most of all a story that reflects of compassion and love towards deep rooted traditions and meaningful understanding of each other. I deeply believe as an artist it's important to contribute to sharing the common and connecting truths that is necessary to the closing of gaps between differing cultures and backgrounds.