Communicating with Art

Through the creation of my work, I hope to inspire others to use art as a means of communication, exploration, and celebration of their cultural heritage.
Kelli Clifton

As a woman from the Tsimshian nation, I am proud to say that my main passion in life is to create art.  First Nations people across Canada have such a rich yet complicated history, and as a young person who is aware of my peoples past and our present, I can only strive to create artwork that will better our future.  There is a sense of pressure felt by today’s Aboriginal youth to preserve our traditional ways as well as to learn how to survive within modern Canadian society.  Through combining traditional themes and contemporary style, I speak to my generation and provide them with work in which they can relate to.

My personal journey with identity has also had a major influence on my work, which I believe several people can relate to.  My mother is of European ancestry and my father is Gitga’at from the community of Hartley Bay.  Although I grew up surrounded by my father’s side of the family, the majority of my friends at school were non-Aboriginal.  It wasn’t until later in life that I realized I had become accustomed to keeping information about my culture to myself.  Through experimentation with art and subject matter, I have been able to find my voice and I now use my artwork as a tool to celebrate my traditional ways.

My belief is that art is a crucial form of expression that also holds healing powers.  As a people, it is important for us to exercise this form of expression in order to heal.  I feel that it is especially important for youth to embrace art as it is there to help guide us along each of our journeys.  Through the creation of my work, I hope to inspire others to use art as a means of communication, exploration and celebration of their cultural heritage.

Kelli Clifton

Connections

Claiming Space: Voices of Urban Aboriginal Youth

www.communicatingwithart.com