Contemporary art tied to rich traditions led George Littlechild to crafting beautiful creations, but it also opened his eyes to shadows that continue to follow First Nations people today.
Litttlechild, who received an honorary degree from the University of the Fraser Valley in June 2013, returns for the UFV President’s Leadership Lecture Series at the Aboriginal Gathering Place on UFV’s Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park. His presentation begins at 4 pm on Monday, Oct 20.
Littlechild plans to speak about his life’s journey as an artist, as well as social and political issues, with a focus on Canada’s residential school system.
“It is art that speaks from the heart, the social and the political,” he says of his work.
“It is what I was born to do. It is my passion, my joy, as my art has been there throughout my life’s journey.”
Littlechild fully embraces his Plains Cree heritage, and combines traditional Cree elements such as horses and iconic creatures with his own personal symbols. Images of his distinctive, memorable and visually stunning work will be featured throughout his presentation in a retrospective that stretches back to 1988.
“My art is charged with energy and color, vibrant, magical, and thus enabling the soul to travel,” he says.
“I’m a storyteller, a visualist, a conveyer of messages.”
Littlechild’s lecture perfectly suits the vision of UFV President Mark Evered’s leadership lecture series. Evered launched the speaker series to enable informed and inspirational speakers to share their experiences, challenge our views, and promote dialogue.
“George’s art tells a story we all need to hear,” says Evered.
“His work encapsulates the spirit of First Nations people, yet speaks to the values common to all cultures. It is an outstanding example of the role of art in educating, touching and connecting us in meaningful and vital ways.
The Cree artist, originally from Alberta but now living in British Columbia, has built both a strong reputation and a huge catalog of work over the 25 years he’s been pursuing his muse since graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design.
Littlechild has been compelled to create since he was a literally a ‘little child’.
“My foster mother saw that I had a talent at a very young age. She was encouraging, loving… She saw the gift in me,” recalls Littlechild on his website biography. “Scribblers were filled; art lessons began at an early age.
“We talk about Idle No More these days, but I’ve never been idle,” he says. “I’ve been thinking about and creating around these issues for years and years. I’ve always believed in being proactive and making changes for the better of the planet. I’ve been granted this gift of artistic ability and I believe in using it in the right way.”
Littlechild has exhibited around the world, with his latest exhibition opening Oct 18. Entitled Those That Listen, it runs at Vancouver’s Komoto Gallery until Nov 8.
For more, visit www.georgelittlechild.com.