We asked Inuk-Folk artist Elisapie to share five of her favourite Indigenous creators and artists across disciplines, from art to film, and why they inspire her.
Kent Monkman is a Cree artist, exploring themes of sexuality, legalization, loss and resilience, as well as the complexity of contemporary Indigenous experiences through a variety of mediums; film, painting, performance, and installation. His work has been featured in many prestigious museums, such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Canada, among others.
“He’s an artist with so much truth to tell. Each image reminds us of how we wrongly viewed Canada. He’s all about telling hard truths about how much our people suffered.”
Ugly Fish Design
Ugly Fish Design, by designer Tarralik Duffy, is a Nunavut based design company that creates jewelry from ethically harvested caribou antler, beluga vertebra, teeth and other found bones. Ugly Fish also designs clothing and accessories from a variety of textiles and mediums. Her work is available at the National Gallery of Canada Boutique in Ottawa.
“She loves to play with bones. Us Inuit, we all grow up around bones. We’re among hunters and we eat what we hunt. She’s a gorgeous woman and she makes gorgeous jewelry from the land.”
Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory is a Kalaaleq performance artist, spoken word poet, storyteller, actor, and writer based in Nunavut. She is best known as a Greenlandic mask dancer and is a rising star in contemporary Indigenous theatre and performance, focusing on feminist and political themes. Well known in both Canada and Greenland, Laakkulak has worked with various artists and performed shows across the globe.
“Laakkuluk is one of the most fearless women I know. She does not live by excusing herself. She takes everything in life passionately. She laughs out loud and she expresses herself out loud with no fear. And she makes us wanna be strong and take in all of our feminine powers!”
Lesley Hampton is an Indigenous fashion designer and owner of her self-named fashion brand. Her brand, which began in 2016, is founded on the principles of inclusivity, identity, awareness, and heritage, and is inspired by Hampton’s upbringing as a ‘third culture kid.’ In 2018, she received recognition for her fashion and entrepreneurial work from the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards. She’s been featured in local and international publications, as well as been worn by international celebrities.
“Her clothing has a touch of something we can relate to as Indigenous women. Yet, it’s very out there and modern, being edgy yet feminine. I can’t wait to own a piece by her.”
Taika Waititi is a world-renowned New Zealand filmmaker and actor of Maori descent, known for his smash-hit films, such as Thor: Ragnarok and most recently, Jojo Rabbit, which won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. He is also a painter, photographer, and fashion designer, having exhibited in both Wellington and Berlin.
“He has such an Indigenous humour and he’s a carefree artist all over. I find him inspiring because his world has no boundaries.”
Be on the look out for our upcoming exclusive interview with Elisapie and discover more about her favourite indigenous creators in the links below: