Art is Medicine
Curated by the McMaster University Indigenous Health Movement
Anang Binesi, Courtnee Osawabine, Justice Ryan, Nikaronhya'a Dawn Martin, Shayde Sandy
- / James Gallery
Art is Medicine is a collection showcasing the work of five young Indigenous artists from around Ontario. The show is curated by the McMaster Indigenous Health Movement in collaboration with Hamilton Artists Inc. Art is Medicine seeks to highlight the perspectives of Indigenous youth, as they are often at the forefront of Indigenous cultural revitalization. This collection of multidisciplinary works features paintings, photography and traditional beading practices which provide a visual representation of Indigenous health and wellbeing. Works showcased in Art is Medicine reflect modern perspectives of Indigenous Health while reinterpreting and redefining what Indigenous Health and ‘Medicine’ can be.
Medicine exists outside of the Western perceptions of health and healthcare, and the themes of Art is Medicine derive from the Anishinaabe teaching of Mino Bimaadziwin (“The Good Path”) and the Cayuga teaching of Ganikwiyo (“Good Mind”.) Bimaadziwin involves living in a way that upholds the 7 grandfather teachings of: love, wisdom, honesty, truth, bravery, humility, and respect. Ganikwiyo encompasses values and principles, such as strength and compassion, that are within us all.
The title Art is Medicine is inspired by the saying “good medicine,” a term often used to explain a multitude of Indigenous teachings and ways of beings. All these teachings instruct us to move though the world with good intentions, respect, and a balanced self. Art is Medicine highlights art as an act of creation, resistance, and ultimately revitalization of a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
Anang Binesi, an Anishinaabe artist rooted in their culture, is a dynamic force in the world of contemporary art. Their journey includes a transformative experience participating in the Creative Native artist residency, where they fused tradition with visual innovation. Specializing in artistic and family portraiture, Anang Binesi captures the essence of moments with a unique blend of warmth and artistic flair. Their work extends to product photography, where they contribute to the success of local businesses. Distinguished for expertise in Anishinaabe traditional tattoos, Anang Binesi merges ancestral symbolism with modern aesthetics, creating timeless and meaningful art. Anang Binesi's art is a celebration of diversity, storytelling, and the enduring power of cultural expression. Through every brushstroke and click of the camera, they bridge the past and present, leaving an indelible mark on the art world.
Shayde Sandy is Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) from Six Nations. Shayde Sandy is a multi-disciplinary artist, who specializes in oil painting. Shayde Sandy recently graduated from Queen’s University with a Honours degree in Fine Art (BFAH), majoring in visual art and minoring in film. Her artwork is primarily based on her identity and experience of life on the reserve. Shayde Sandy goal is to broaden the understanding of the modern-day Native by sharing the beauty, humour and complexities that make the reserve an iconic place. Shayde's artwork has been exhibited at Martin Luther University College, Queen’s University, FirstOntario Arts Centre and Woodland Cultural Centre. Shayde Sandy has also been featured in QWIL (Queen’s Women in Leadership) magazine for the artist spotlight and most recently was featured on APTN’s social media for Indigenous History Month.
Nikaronhya’a Dawn Martin (they/she) is a Two-Spirit person and member of the Bear Clan, Kanyenkehaka Mohawk Nation at Six Nations Grand River Territory and a citizen of the Rotinonhsyonni Confederacy. Nikaronhya’a has graduated from Trent University in 2017 with a degree in Indigenous studies and Queens University receiving a Bachelor of Education in 2018. They have had a life-long passion about Kanyenkéha Mohawk language and studied at the Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa Adult Immersion program for four years to acquire an advance-level speaking ability. They are a teacher, learner, and speaker of the Mohawk language. Nikaronhya’a is a practicing artist, gardener, seedkeeper, deer and moose hide tanner, and fish skin tanner. Nikaronhya’a and their family hold traditional varieties of Haudenosaunee and Indigenous seed varieties of corn,beans, squash, tobacco and sunflowers. Their craft focuses on revitalizing traditional textile arts, use of natural materials and dyes, and ethical harvesting of animal and plant relatives. Nikaronhya’a is passionate about protection and continuation of Mother Earth and Creation for the future generations and the faces yet to come.
Justice Ryan is an Ojibwe-Potawatomi multidisciplinary artist with a keen focus on traditional Anishinaabe beadwork. She is a member of M’Chigeeng First Nations and raised in Toronto. Justice was born with a zeal for the creative arts and began loom and regalia beading at the age of 8. Her works are influenced by the woodland style, bringing in modern elements to synthesize both her traditional and urban Indigeneity. For the past several years Justice has been honing her skills in a range of Anishinaabe beadwork styles engaging with flat stitching and free-form beading using glass seed beads, porcupine quills, leather, wire and random odds and ends. Today you can spot Justice bustling about at her Beading Group hosted in the MAC Indigenous Student Services office every Thursday evening; a space for Indigenous students, staff, faculty, invited allies and kin relations to get some good medicine by coming together, catching up and beading.
Courtnee Osawabine is an Anishinaabe kwe from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. Much of Courtnee's work reflects her Anishnaabe culture, language and community. Courtnee has been awarded the Blake Debassige Emerging Artist Award 2023 as well as short-listed for the 6th annual Barbara Laronde Emerging Artist Award.
The Indigenous Health Movement (IHM) is an interdisciplinary, student-run initiative based out of McMaster University that works to educate students and community members about current issues and topics surrounding Indigenous Health and Wellbeing. Guided by principles such as Life-Long Learning and Two-Eyed Seeing, IHM strives to be an active student group that advocates for interconnected Indigenous Health and Wellbeing across all contexts. IHM’s team brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to hold events, fundraisers, and initiatives to increase awareness of the multifaceted nature of Indigenous Health and further the presence of Indigenous students at McMaster and in the Hamilton area. While Art is Medicine is the first art show of its kind to be hosted by IHM, past events include the annual Indigenous Health and Research Conference, traditional crafting and cooking workshops, and fundraisers for Indigenous organizations in Hamilton.