Explore Indigenous Art – Sheldon Pierre LouisJune 21, 2021
Sheldon Pierre Louis
I’m a member of the Okanagan Nation and I guess for the past seven years I would call myself a professional artist, even though I’ve made art my entire life. I started selling work when I was 11 and trained to do murals when I was 18. It’s something I was born into. I come from a family full of artists.
For the past 10 years a big portion of my content has been salmon. We’ve been working heavily with the United States, Canada, the Kootenay Nation, the Shuswap Nation and Okanagan Nations to try to further the Columbia River treaty.
A lot of my work is based around environmental impact, advocating for clean water, but also heavily influenced by our traditional gathering: picking berries, digging roots, and being out on the land. In my family we’re often out on the land, practicing a lot of our traditional ceremonies. Certainly a lot of the imagery that comes through in my artwork is Sylix – not just the traditional lifestyle, but how we live it in today’s context.
Coming from an Indigenous perspective, you know, our life and the land are directly connected. Our health is directly connected with the land – our language, our traditional teachings, every aspect of our life is directly connected with the land. In exploring the outdoors, yes, we explore our inner world, but it probably goes a bit deeper than that. Since conception, our entire life has been directly linked with our territories, our water and our animals.
At the moment, I’m working on a 12×20 foot mural on the new Interior Health Urban Outreach Building in Kelowna. Next week, I’m slated to start another large, 70×50 foot mural on the Kelowna Gospel Mission. I’ve been commissioned to do a mural for the UBC Okanagan Daycare Building and I’ve just finished doing a large illustration project for the First Nations Health Authority. Next Wednesday, I’m at the Kelowna Airport de-installing an exhibit for the Kelowna Art Gallery. That one was up for an entire year and voted as number one art in airports by Air Canada. So yeah, I’m busy with a lot of different things!