It is great to be able to once again feature a selection of work created by the second year students participating in the En’owkin’s National Aboriginal Professional Artist Training Program. This unique program brings a wide range of students to Penticton from Aboriginal communities throughout Canada. In doing so they have created a one of a kind institution which provides the students with the opportunity for a safe space where they can learn from each other, their instructor and mentors while sharing with each other the knowledge and traditions of their own communities. The program is designed to assist the participating artists in their journey towards self-discovery, through cultural emersion of each individual artist and their unique tribal backgrounds. Through this immersive process each of the participants artist gains a better understanding of themselves, their own cultural history and the generational knowledge that forms the basis of their existence.
This two year certificate program includes storytelling, performance arts, media arts, painting, sculpture, installation art and marketing. The focus of the National Aboriginal Professional Artist Training Program (NAPAT) is to protect and preserve Indigenous world-view and arts expressions in traditional heritage, utilizing interdisciplinary works with contemporary practice. Professional established Aboriginal artist’s provide mentorship and creation space.
The NAPAT program was developed to support the learning of how to “revitalize” traditional art form into contemporary practice. It is a professional training opportunity that assists the artist to interpret traditional forms of art in today’s context. The program is open to and to be eligible: Aboriginal, Metis, Inuit, Status & Non-Status Individuals must have proof of Aboriginal Ancestry.
Last year we partnered with Island Mountain Arts in Wells, British Columbia to provide one of the graduating students with the opportunity to attend the Toni Onley Artist project, an intensive ten day artist in residency program they offer each summer. Last year we partnered to send Diana Downey from William Lake to attend this program under the mentorship of Harold Klunder from Montreal and Ciara Phillips of Edinburgh, Scotland. The importance of opportunities like this cannot be understated and I am thrilled that we are able to provide this opportunity for artist’s from our community to engage in a larger global dialogue. We are pleased that we will be able to once again offer this opportunity to one of the graduation artists this year and I hope this will be an ongoing part of our continued partnership.
This year’s participating artists include: Pat Raphael Derrickson, Shayna Desjarlais, Clayton Gauthier, Josette Jim, Shane Kruger and Brittany Postal.
It’s been a pleasure to see these artists develop and grow over the past year and I would like to thank not only the participating artists but also their mentors, Phyllis Isaac and Dr. Michelle Jack, without whose trust, belief and support this ongoing partnership would not have been possible. Thanks also to A. Michael Bezener, Richard Armstrong, Tracey Bonneau, and Dr. Jeannette Armstrong for their continued and ongoing support to help us build this important bridge of understanding between our two communities.