The Weather Collection Digital Artist Projects brought five mentoring artists selected by the partner galleries—together with artist mentor/organizer Lisa Hirmer and guest mentors Elwood Jimmy and smudge studio (Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse)—to think together about making and being in this era of climate change. We were also joined in conversation by emerging curator Ooleepeeka Eegeesiak.

After a series of online conversations, mentoring artists Kaylyn Baker, Undine Foulds, Emilie Grace Lavoie, Heather Steinhagen, and Tyshan Wright were invited to produce new digital artworks featured here on the project’s website.

Tyshan Wright, What Will Happen? (2023)

In this digital artwork, Wright uses the poetic tool of erasure poetry to redact a blog post titled Cockpit Country: “We Must Fight For It With Every Breath” (Petchary’s Blog, November 5, 2015). The article examines the Jamaican Maroons’ plight to thwart bauxite mining activities in their traditional Cockpit Country territory. A naturally occuring material, bauxite is used to create alumnimum metal and other industrial products. However its mining results in the pollution of water, air, and soil, and affects the well-being of local flora and fauna as well as humans. In the article, Wright urges his fellow Maroons and their supporters to fight for the preservation of Cockpit Country: “We must fight for it, fight for it with every breath.” Now living in Canada, he reflects—through his erasure poetry—on his relationship to this longstanding issue, and advocates for the cessation of bauxite mining in his home territory.

Tyshan Wright

Halifax-based artist Tyshan Wright works at the intersection of contemporary art and traditional Jamaican Maroon culture and craft. Regarded as a “Keeper of the Heritage” of the Jamaican Maroons (Jamaica Gleaner, 2010), Wright is a descendant of Africans who evaded enslavement and created their own self-sustaining communities in the mountains for Jamaica in the 1600s. His work unites present with past narratives of Maroon experience in diaspora—from the Maroons’ origins in the Akan region of Ghana, to their resistance towards slavery in 17th century Jamaica, to the exile of more than 500 Maroons from Trelawny Town (a region of Jamaica’s remote Cockpit Country) to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1796. Working from Kjipuktuk (also known as Halifax, Nova Scotia), Wright examines the enduring cultural influence of the Trelawny Town Maroons’ time in Atlantic Canada, a region still home to many of their descendants. He is a co-founder of Erasure Art Collective, an interdisciplinary arts group committed to researching and reinterpreting archival texts using visual, poetic, and performative erasure. Wright has been shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, and his works has been exhibited at museums and galleries across Canada including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

Heather “von” stienhagen, over time (2023)

‘Over time’ is an interactive digital story that captures the essence of how quiet memories surface when we wander. Through my digital mentorship, I contemplated the concept of blood/memories and the clues we’re given by nature. By listening, slowing down, and connecting with the land, clues to ancestral knowledge are revealed through contemplative art practices, like bending trees.

Heather “Von” Steinhagen

Heather “Von” Steinhagen’s passion for supporting creative innovation and heart-filled connections drives her career and art practice. Homegrown from Whitehorse, Yukon, Heather is an artist of sorts with roots from Cowessess First Nation (mother, Cree) and Germany (father, 2nd generation Canadian). She exhibits her artwork regularly and is often working on challenging and creative projects such as co-curating TETHER, for the 2022 Arctic Arts Summit, and making artwork, reliable for twisting the mundane points of memory collected from all dimensions, with vibrant colour.

Heather has collected a Visual Arts Diploma (Vancouver Island University, B.C., 2014) and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts, focusing on Community-based Arts Education (Concordia, Montreal, QC., 2017). She has worked as an Arts Administrator for the Yukon Arts Centre, Government of Yukon Tourism and Culture, and is the former Executive Director of the Yukon Arts Society. Currently, Heather is the part-time Content Developer for the Canadian Crafts Federation and maintains a busy artistic practice.

kaylyn Baker, spark (2023)

This piece is meant to spark the conversation of climate change and how it’s impacting forest fires in the Yukon and the North. It highlights the fire, the smoke, the burn and in time the aftergrowth of morel mushrooms and fireweed.

2023, Work in progress.  Moonstone, howlite, Australian opal, Klondike nuggets encased in a glass bead, porcupine quills, obsidian, bugle beads, emeralds, snowflake obsidian, silver beads. Hide Fringe Dress – White elk hide, white seed beads, 100% cotton flannel lining. Fur Boa – natural and dyed fox fur. 

Artist statement:

My journey back to beadwork started in 2014 creating my daughters regalia. I beaded a belt and 6 patches, after which I was hooked. Over the years I experimented with many different styles, trying to find one of my own. I admired my moms style of beading anything she felt in the moment, even if that included giant beads, and a different colour scheme. After some tinkering, I started to incorporate that spontaneity into my own style. During this time I was working with Heather Dickson a lot and she introduced me to using gems and quills. I eventually learned to tuft using caribou hair. I loved how luxurious the beadwork was as I added the different techniques, eventually leading to me adding every technique I knew to each piece.

In 2016 a family member of mine passed away & while I was grieving him I started beading a design thinking of him. It turned into my signature “Rainstorm” design. I realized I could capture his memory and other stories to interpret into my beadwork, I started to explore that.

Kaylyn Baker

Kaylyn Baker is a Northern Tutchone and Tlingit artist from the Yukon. She is a citizen of Selkirk First Nation based out of Whitehorse. Kaylyn is an avid beader, using a variety of traditional and contemporary materials and textiles. She draws on the principles of visual art to create her own designs. In addition to making jewelry, Kaylyn’s beadwork adorns garments and accessories, including mukluks, moccasins, purses, and regalia. Her work has walked the red carpet at the Emmy Awards, she was a featured designer at Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week 2022 as well as the Adaka Art Festival Fashion Show in Whitehorse 2022 and her solo exhibition at Yukon Arts Centre. For Kaylyn beading is a way to connect with her ancestors through her spontaneous style of that she calls beaded storytelling.

Emilie Grace Lavoie , gut feelings (2023)

Emilie Grace Lavoie

Emilie Grace Lavoie works primarily in three dimensions. Her practice investigates the space between the object and its ecology; the relationship between material practice and complex systems, such as living ecosystems, and the environments in which they are found.

Emilie Grace Lavoie is an artist, curator, and member of the 3E Collective, from New Brunswick, traditional unceded territories of the Wəlastəkwewiyik, Mi’kmaq, and Peskotomuhkati peoples.

Lavoie holds a college diploma in fashion design (2011) from LaSalle College, a Bachelor of Visual Arts (2016) from Université de Moncton, and an MFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2018). Her work is held in various private and public collections, including the provincial art bank collections ArtNB, as well as the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

In 2017, Lavoie was awarded the silver medal at the VIII Games of La Francophonie in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) in sculpture and installation, representing Canada-New Brunswick.

Undine Foulds, dirt water fire salt (2023)

Undine Foulds

Undine Foulds is an interdisciplinary artist, facilitator, and curator of Métis and Irish descent. She knows home along the Kootenay River, the swah’netk’qhu/Columbia River, the Salish Sea, and is currently living with the North Atlantic Ocean, in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, where she received an Interdisciplinary BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2021. Motivated by doing things with and for others (including interactive art projects, backcountry hiking, tanning deer hides, and sharing dinner), Undine endeavors to connect more than keep separate. She often makes things out of clay, and is more interested in what a vessel can contain than its name.