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Both of Jim’s par­ents orig­i­nally lived in Al­berta but moved to Bri­tish Columbia to find em­ploy­ment. Jim was born in 1955 in New West­min­ster, B.C., and grew up in a Métis house­hold in Port Co­quit­lam, B.C. He stud­ied at the Koote­nay School of Art in Nel­son, B.C., and spent a num­ber of years work­ing as a lay min­is­ter in the First Na­tions vil­lage of Kwan­lin Dün, near White­horse. While there, Jim’s life and art ca­reer were trans­formed as he first be­gan paint­ing so­cial-state­ment pieces based on his ob­ser­va­tions and per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences.

Through his work, he ad­vo­cates for the restora­tion of iden­tity and self-aware­ness within First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties. Jim sheds light on the low vis­i­bil­ity of Abo­rig­i­nal aes­thet­ics in for­mal art his­tory and has man­aged to bring a new sig­nif­i­cance—a Na­tive per­spec­tive—to the icons of West­ern art. His ap­proach al­lows him to ques­tion what he be­lieves to be the “hege­monic” na­ture of our so­ci­ety, in which Euro­pean dom­i­nance pre­vails, not just here in North Amer­ica, but around the globe.

Since 1984, he has ex­hib­ited his works in a num­ber of venues, in­clud­ing the Bearclaw Gallery in Ed­mon­ton, the Dal­housie Gallery in Hal­i­fax, the Gallery Phillip in Toronto and the Yukon Arts Cen­tre in White­horse. His style takes a var­ied and unique ap­proach to the de­pic­tion of the Na­tive way of life.

In 1988-89, Jim be­came the co-founder and pres­i­dent of the So­ci­ety of Yukon Artists of Na­tive An­ces­try (SYANA). In the span of one year (199192), his work was fea­tured in four films and videos across Canada. And most no­tably, he be­came the found­ing mem­ber and chief of the Eastern Abo­rig­i­nal Artist Col­lec­tive in 1999. From 1999 to 2002, Jim was the Abo­rig­i­nal arts cu­ra­tor for the Art Gallery of Nova Sco­tia, in Hal­i­fax. That same year, he moved on to be­come a vis­ual arts pro­gram of­fi­cer at the Canada Coun­cil for the Arts in down­town Ot­tawa.

Look for Jim’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion, “Sur­viv­ing Un­der Oc­cu­pa­tion,” this Novem­ber at the Cam­bridge Gallery in Cam­bridge, Ont.

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