Tara Francis, Mi’kmaq Artist

From a very young age I knew I had a very strong affinity to art. As a child I would sneak into my closet with my mother’s liquid eyeliner and draw on the walls. I carried this passion with me throughout my youth, with the support and encouragement of my Grandmother and high school art teacher, I received an Art Bursary upon graduation. After exploring more conventional scholastic pursuits, my journey finally led me to the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, where I felt at home to explore and expand my skills, whilst embracing the traditions of my Indigenous heritage, through the guidance of Elder Gwen Bear, whose teachings are still reflected in each piece I create today.

As a Mi’kmaq artist it is important to me to honour my ancestors and the land we call home. I do so by bringing the tradition of Porcupine quillwork forward with me, in my work, and as a contemporary artist, I strive to stretch the boundaries of the craft, by exploring 3D form, as well as making a statement as to who we are as Indigenous people today, reflecting our spirituality and connection to Mother Earth. My silk works honour the Mi’kmaq petroglyphs – the spirit of silk being one of protection throughout transformation. My acrylic paintings reflect our journey to reach for new horizons. It is important, as Indigenous artists, to pass on our teachings to the next generation. An important part of my journey is dedicated to that responsibility, and to being a strong role model, giving our youth hope for the future though a foundation of pride in who we are.

My art is my spiritual path, my personal journey to healing, and my visual prayer to the world. In sharing my sacred gift, I hope to help others find their own path and inner light.

M’sit No’kimaq (All my relations)