Welcome to 2019, fam. This January marks three full years of tea&bannock, and that is pretty crazy to me. We have definitely taken a step back in blogging in the last few months, as we are all working on goals and relationships and education and art – all good tings – and we are looking forward to what we can bring to the table in the next year. I asked our artists to send their fave photos and to reflect upon personal growth and art in their lives, and as always, they shared truth and wisdom and goals.
This was a year of tremendous growth for myself. I jumped into the waters of a few new ventures, with motherhood centering me like it always has since my daughter was born. Photography wise this year I took a small but important step back from over-sharing my daughter, her stories and images on social media. It was challenging and she is so special to me that I want to shout it from mountain tops but as I’m sure many mothers feel in this modern world, I find trouble figuring out what is right vs. wrong. Of course, there is no answer and we are all just trying to do our best in the grey waters, with love as the backbone for our decisions. On that note for photography, I only took on less than a handful of clients as I find my way to loving it more.
I also started a small business called waposis (which translates to “little rabbit” for my daughter) where I heat-press vinyl onto t-shirts with Cree on them. Again, many challenges in this, from the logistics and financials to my own personal ethics. My biggest struggle is my internal war between consumerism, fast fashion (and the waste that goes with it), and “traditional” vs. “colonial” values. Again, no right and wrong as I navigate these waters as a nehiyaw iskwew. My friend Roseanne put it best when she said people are wrongly wielding the “tradish ego” as a weapon, and this is something of a reminder for myself. The business is at a standstill right now as I figure out the direction I want to go with it.
Continuing on in my identity journey, I started my after degree in Education, and I will be a teacher in 2020. For this program I am delighted to say that I feel like I am not drowning and am instead am swimming beautifully. It still comes with its hardships as I question my place as an Indigenous teacher, teaching in colonial systems. I hope to explore this a bit more in writing in the New Year. I will say that it feels like I am on the right path, and it feels good. I never had any Indigenous teachers growing up and I know those Cree kids need me, but I also know they need Mother Earth more.
– claudine bull, saddle lake
- A Winter on the Prairies. Reconnected and rejuvenated. I respect that my creative process can’t be rushed. I need structure but I also need open spaces.
- A trip to Vancouver. Some good news. I learned that while a behind-the-scenes life is preferred, recognition and credit is still nice. kiyām.
- Summer on the Prairies. Cree camp. New-old friends. New-old words. Let’s drive to Santa Fe!
- Staying home is nice, so is travelling to Austria and Norway. Find b-a-l-a-n-c-e and b-o-u-n-d-a-r-i-e-s. I learned that I am capable.
– joi arcand, ottawa
Growth arises from breaking through our personal limitations. Reflecting today on all the good, bad, happy, sad with wide open arms. Like an ElectroCardioGram, life is defined by the ups and downs. Without both, we are considered dead. With the new year approaching, I look back at all the bumps in the road and forward towards new strength and growth.
– caroline blechert, yellowknife
When I reflect back on 2018 my mind goes back to my sewing desk and the endless hours spent creating with my hands. I sewed A LOT in 2018!!! Creating has been healing for my mind, body and spirit. I taught myself how to sew by watching and learning from others, through this experience I’ve made meaningful connections with like minded people and felt united with my grandmothers and ancestors. For me, these images represent challenge, patience and excitement.
I hope to dust off my camera in 2019 and make more of an effort of sharing my images with others by printing and posting! My personal goal is to continue to create, buy less and be more environmentally minded. Bring on a new year!
– shawna mcleod, yellowknife
This year has been unbelievably wondrous to me as I made the truly crazy but beautiful transition from maiden to mother. I was blessed with a baby girl, who goes by the name of Dani-Mae Kathryn.
She is beauty and grace. She is Cole and I’s love, in the purest form. She is lovely in every way. I absolutely adore the girl.
She is my little muse, she challenges me and she has brought out the best side in me. She has reignited a fire within me that I never realized had gone out. She is my inspiration.
– shayla snowshoe, tetlit zheh (Fort McPherson)
2018 was an interesting space to be in. I loved the work I was doing, but I was also into this position where I was the photographer for other people’s visions. The creative work I did for Catherine Blackburns‘s New Age Warriors defined my year, in the best way. We did six shoots over the year, travelling far and wide. I learned so much about myself, about what it’s like to be a woking artist, and what it’s like to try and capture images in a way that reflects who you are as an artist, but also what your client wants and needs. This is her baby, but the images are my interpretation of that. I don’t know how I feel about holding this space, but I loved the process of working within and the team we worked with. I hope 2019 is all about pushing boundaries and growing as an artist.
– tenille k campbell, saskatoon
2018 was the year of taste, that is the taste of salty sweat and tears. Emotions were raw and put out on display in an awkward fashion. Big changes were had – Amanda went back to school. My cameras are collecting dust while I “play” nurse with my stethoscope and sphygmomanometer. Every single day, I asked myself why I was taking this path? There is no simple answer, but every single day last term I was reminded about the impact colonialism has had on me, you, us. The struggle is real, it isn’t something abstract from a textbook. I shake my head in disbelief when I hear people still saying that Indigenous people have a genetic intolerance to alcohol. All has been forgotten about the social circumstances and social conditions. The inequity. The racism. When people say, why can’t they get over it? And I want to ask you, why aren’t you seeking help for your white privilege? When will you get over it?
This year, I will continue to taste the salt but I will hold my head up higher because I got this. I promise to myself that I will focus on self care and spend more time with my partner and our children. I will dust off my camera and take more photos of everything and anything. I’ve come to realize that taking a few minutes to compose a photograph, allows me to breathe, notice the light and observe life around me. When I am stressed, I can easily forget about what is around me. Life is precious.
I first photographed Eva in 2016 when she was only a few months old. I’ve shared one of the photos of her as a baby on T&B. She wore a bright red coat and had them chubby cheeks and lots of thick, dark hair. A couple of years later and she loves being silly in front of the camera and even takes photos of her family with my gear. Her crinkled nose and smile makes me smile.
-amanda laliberte, victoria