Working in acrylic, my painting are influenced by direct relationships and cross relationship of the environment, humans, animals and spiritual connections. Vibrant colours and bolds lines and imagination with no boundaries are the main characteristics that can be observed in my visual and creative journey.

2010 - Retrospective at the OJIBWE CULTURAL FOUNDATION


August 2010 - Volume 5, Issue 6


By Crystal Migwans

In the OCF Gallery August 1 - 21

Finian Paibomesai, a member of the Whitefish River First Nation, returns home to Manitoulin with an exhibit at the OCF this August.

“Coming Home 2010” showcases some new and some older work from the accomplished Woodlands-style painter. Formally trained at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa, and influenced by Norval Morrisseau, Paibomesai brings us both a sense of tradition and of something new.

In most of his work, the influence of Morrisseau is strong: the colourful, flat cells of colour and elaborately outlined creatures is exemplary of Morrisseau-style Woodlands abstraction. Other pieces are more experimental. His Drum Face Series stands out: studies of the faces of drums, on canvas. They are like crests on a row of shields, or emblems on flags. Rather than literally painting the faces of drums, Paibomesai opts to lift the image away from the utility of that physical object. The ‘drum’ instead becomes an aesthetic reference; a symbol of something more.

These are symbols which also tell a story. Abstraction in Woodlands art is a way of universalizing a personal story. Through abstraction and decoration, the people and creatures in these works are elevated to a state of legend and timelessness. They become symbols. Paibomesai’s work is exemplary of this process. He explores stories, some of which are clearly personal, in a way reminiscient of the way old legends are told by our grandfathers.

These stories, he says in his artist’s statement, are “a major tool of cultural transmission,” and visual artists carry on these storytelling traditions. It is his hope as an artist that his stories-as-art will “resonate and awaken an awareness that is at once exciting and empowering, a way for all people to understand an Aboriginal world view.”

“First Nation Artists’ work will contribute to cultural revitalization, an awakening that continues to gather strength among the people, to express and share the experience of being in and with the world, not masters of it.”