Corinna Ray – her best yet painting – it was trapped in the mail strike!

Yesterday I received this painting directly from Corinna Ray – it had been mailed just as Canada Post shut out their workers and so was stuck in the system until the back to work order.

I was absolutely thrilled when I opened the package and saw this latest painting! It is, in my opinion, the best yet of the many paintings by her that I have seen. It is good to see the maturing of a talent that had such early promise.

Young Bull Moose - Corinna Ray - acrylic on canvas - 25x42

I am blown away by the amount of movement, the detail, and the subtle use of colour and shading in this work.

It is clear that this mainly self-taught artist has inherited the artistic vision of her father, Carl Ray, and indeed of the people of Sandy Lake as a whole; and it is interesting to note that several other well known First Nations artists of the last generation made their mark in the Canadian art scene after being nurtured in the Sandy Lake area.

There is need for debate and discussion of how best to develop and facilitate the marketing of art for emerging First Nations artists of this generation, but the discussion must be led by First Nations people first and foremost.

Some of the issues that should be addressed are the difficulty in accessing art supplies by individuals as in the more isolated areas, there is little infrastructure: roads, supply routes, even things as simple as banking and computer knowledge are lacking. We won’t even talk about issues of safe and aceptable housing and clean water and sewage management…… a right all Canadians need to be able to access equally.

Perhaps we need to take a hard look at how artists’ co-operatives were set up in Inuit communities some 40 years ago – these co-operatives seem to have made supplying artists with materials and then marketing their output much more fluid and much more successful – to this day – than the individual efforts of First Nations artists who live in isolated areas can accomplish.

Also there needs to be a dialogue about the pros and cons of visiting southern urban centres for extended periods of time – what is lost and what is gained by doing so?

At the moment, however, there seems to be little discussion of these issues, and not a lot of knowledge of or interest in, emerging artists of the current generation who choose to live a more traditional life in the isolation of the northern reserves. It is time for this to change.

Meanwhile, RedKettle is trying to bring some exposure for one or two artists from this very rich environment.

This latest, and in my opinion, best of Corinna Ray’s output, can be purchased either as a rolled canvas, for $450 plus shipping; or it can be purchased for $600 framed with acid free mat and behind glass in a metal frame, and will require courier shipping which, of course, will be extra. 

Contact to discuss purchase of this inspiring piece.

Thank you for looking – I think you are seeing the emergence of a new talent in the First Nations art scene!

Until next time – Mich (and Janet)




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