Artist Biography

Tara Francis

Tara is a Mi’kmaq artist from Elsipogtog First Nation, specializing in Porcupine quillwork as well as silk painting and acrylic painting. She considers herself a contemporary artist, influenced by traditional techniques and teachings, bringing them forward in new forms and forums addressing the Indigenous voice in a modern world. She considers her work part of her own personal spiritual journey, a blessing to the Wabanaki people, honouring the symbols and traditions of her ancestors, and passing them forward to the next generation.

In 1999 she began attending the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD), where she received her Certificate of Native Art Study and Fine Craft Diploma in Surface Design, going on to obtain an Aboriginal Creation grant from Artsnb in 2003 to build a body of work inspired by the Mi’kmaq Petroglyphs of Kejimkujik NS. Her work has been featured on APTN’s Wabaanakik documentary series, as well as various arts columns and magazines. Her pieces are scattered from Hawaii to Africa, Germany to the Middle East. She has been in countless exhibits including ones at Harbourfront Centre in downtown Toronto and the 4 Winds one Breath Gallery in Rhode Island. A featured artist in the Keepers of the Light Indigenous Arts Exhibit in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She was selected to participate in Artslink’s 2019 Cross Cultural Residency, whose work traveled to various venues across NB. She exhibited in Circadian, curated by Amy Ash. Her works, Grandmother Moon Turtle and Monarch, created for these exhibits, went on to be selected as part of CollectionARTnb’s acquisition program to become part of the province’s permanent collection. She has continued to create throughout Covid-19 and has prepared work for online exhibitions with Mawi’Art and in person exhibits with Gallery on Queen. Her most recent quillwork, 4 Sisters Monarch, will be a part of a two year exhibit at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbour Maine, Opening in the Summer of 2021 and continuing until the Summer of 2023. In Early June of 2021 Tara will participate in her second Cross Cultural Residency, along with 9 other New Brunswick artists of Indigenous, Francophone and Anglophone heritage. Tara has shared the tradition of Porcupine Quill art, through workshops and demonstrations throughout Atlantic Canada and Maine. She has also been an instructor and visiting artist at NBCCD since 2010, as part of their Indigenous Visual Arts Program.

She has maintained an Art Studio in Downtown Fredericton, at her current location for the past 9 years and has recently opened a second art studio, located in Shediac NB, a traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq, where she will continue to create her own works of art, as well as provide space for other Indigenous Artists of the region to join her for residencies, giving them the opportunity to expand their markets, share their traditions and offer workshops.