Maxine Noel is an internationally renowned Native visual artist and mentor with a career spanning more than 35 years.
Born on the Birdtail Reserve in Manitoba, Maxine Noel has lived in Stratford with her daughter for more than 20 years. She believes that there is a common bond that links all cultures of the world, and she continues to work tirelessly to bridge the gap between Native and non-Native communities. Her dedication, commitment, strength and self-determination make her a valuable role model.
Maxine works tirelessly and selflessly for others throughout our communities. She was one of the first artists to work with the Canada and Africa Village Twinning Programs, and she is a founding board member of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation [now Indspire]. She has lectured at the Saskatchewan School of Fine Arts, the University of Western Ontario and the Ontario College of Art. She has also spoken at schools and to service and other groups throughout Canada, encouraging young people to engage in the work of building strong supportive communities.
Maxine signs her work with her Sioux name, Ioyan Mani, a name given to her by her grandmother. It Find out moremeans “Walks Beyond.” s care in remote and underserviced First Nations communities in Canada. Proceeds from the sale of items such as an porcelan mug featuring Maxine’s painting Spirit of the Woodlands, produced by Oscardo, are being donated to this much-needed program.
Currently, Maxine and other First Nations artists are working with Artists Against Racism on their EAGLES RISING project to raise awareness of the persistence of racism targeting Indigenous peoples in Canada. This project will involve a Canada-wide campaign of billboard and bus shelter advertisements featuring the work of First Nations artists to highlight this ongoing problem.
"My art is the way I offer healing to the worlds around me, worlds sitting so often on the cusp of destruction and brutality. These worlds are dangerous and beautiful places, sacred to us all, and so their health and their healing are responsibilities we all must take up, each of us finding the work we need to do, and then doing it well and fully. I am honoured by my appointment to the Order of Canada, an honour I share with my people, and with all peoples doing the work of making a better world, with those who came before, and with those still to come."
Maxine signs her work with her Sioux name, Ioyan Mani, a name given to her by her grandmother. It means “Walks Beyond.”
Our mothers and daughters, our sisters and aunties and grandmothers. Our women are our heart and our spirit, always honoured, never forgotten. I am Dakota Sioux, a woman and mother, and an artist. These are inseparable facets of who I am and how I live in the world. That world, the world we all live and move in, is a place of great and terrible beauty, of wonder, and of tragedy. In this painting I speak to that wonder and beauty and tragedy.
To capture both the wonders and the tragedy, I wanted to include motifs which connect with all the places our peoples live. Turning first to the West Coast peoples, I am honoured to have been allowed to include the moon image of my friend, artist and visionary Roy Henry Vickers, an image I first encountered in his illustrations for Dave Bouchard’s The Elders Are Watching. From the North, I incorporated the image of Sedna, the source of all the creatures of the sea. I have always been drawn to the shell and bead work of the Maliseet and other East Coast peoples and in this painting have echoed the fluidity and grace of their compelling designs. And then, the two feathers, acknowledging the Métis, and the peoples of the grasslands and woodlands, of the plains and the forests.
Finally, the floating figures throughout the painting are the spirits and the presence of the missing and murdered women. Missing but never lost. Always present, always remembered.
~ Maxine Noel/Ioyan Mani
For years, our communities have pointed to the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Although Aboriginal females represent only four per cent of the Canadian female population, they account for 16% of murders committed in Canada. Aboriginal women and girls in Canada are especially vulnerable to violence that results in them becoming a missing or murdered statistic. It is time for this to end.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is dedicated to demanding a National Inquiry and a National Action Plan to address the underlying root causes and inequities which create the terrible burden of violence carried by Aboriginal women and girls.
Proceeds of the "Not Forgotten Collection" will help support the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) -- a voice for the missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.