Honouring Elders and Anishinabek Artists: Connecting Art and Traditions

Memories of Trapping with my Grandfather    

One Christmas morning when I was 8 yrs. old, at my grandfather’s place in Constance Lake First Nation, I woke up to find a pair of small snowshoes. I was so happy, my grandfather had made them for me, I was so excited to try them on and practised behind his home. Soon afterwards I was checking the traps with him on his trap line, it was a lot of walking and hard work, but loved being with him and helping as much as I could handle. We would take a break at times to have Tea and Bannock, I use to like the smell of the open fire as our tea would heat up. After the whole day of walking in the snow with my snowshoes, I would tell my grandmother about our trapping journey that day.

These beautiful memories of my grandfather are very precious to me, I would often sit down with a smile on my face and think about our adventures. This painting in acrylic with a different style of bright colours and a midday scenery walking on the frozen lake was one of my vivid memories I had. The fresh snow fallen from the night before, with cool wind in my face and sun nice and bright gives off beautiful winter colours, my grandfather pulling his sled ahead of me and myself trailing behind him pulling mine. As we walk along close to the edge of the forest I would often look over and see so many birds singing and chirping and squirrels chasing each other. Those were the beautiful days as a young boy trapping with my grandfather.

As a young boy I began drawing at the age of 4 years old, with a good imagination I enjoyed every time I thought of an idea and would begin to sketch it out, I still do it today. Art is a huge part of my life and am very thankful of what I have and what am able to do.


Artist: John Ferris / Indigenous Artist

My name is John Ferris, a band member of Constance Lake First Nation. I have been artistically active most of my life. After working with CN Rail for 10 years, I began developing my portfolio in 1985 to submit to a major Art School in Toronto. In the summer of 1986, I received a letter of acceptance to the Ontario College of Art and Design. Afterwards I continued to study Graphic Design at George Brown College for 2 yrs. While studying in Toronto, I was introduced to Michael John Angel a Master Portrait painter who taught in the Classical Methods of Drawing and Painting of the Old Masters. This studio study of 3 and ½ years would escalate my career studies of understanding Art History, Anatomy, Theory, Painting and Drawing Techniques etc., to a whole new level.