Bear (Mukwa) is an important clan figure to many of the First Peoples across Turtle Island (North America). Among all the four-leggeds, Bear is often said to possess the most human-like qualities, having much to teach us about life and ourselves. In addition to the admirable quality of strength, Bear can often demonstrate great patience while waiting quietly by a stream's edge, as in the picture, for the right moment to pluck a fish from a swirling current. Bear also has attributes that point toward the transcendent; such as Bear's preference for honey that some believe represents a yearning for the sweetness of truth. We too, can find truth buried deep in the Tree of Life, where risk (bees!) sometimes also awaits. Bear's winter retreat into the den bespeaks of the importance of introspection in our lives, reminding us to go into our own silent places - including dreamtime - to reflect and be reborn into a new season of life.


Mark Nadjiwan ~ the Artist and the Art

The subject matter and style of artist Mark Nad)iwan are predominantly inspired by his First Nation heritage. He is a self-taught artist who works primarily in pen and ink. His unique style is a fusion of the Woodland and Northwest Coast Native art traditions. In his work, one can often see the Woodland's characteristic x-ray and wavy line motifs interwoven with the clean formlines and geometry that often typify Northwest Coast art Mark's First Nation roots are grounded in the Lake Supenor and Georgian Bay regions. He continues to live in the traditional territories of the Amshmabek Nation with his artist wife, Patricia Gray. Mark's w'ork can be found in galleries and venues across Canada as well as private collections in both Canada and the United States.

Artist's Statement

"Although I have a deep and abiding affinity for w hat my Anishinabek ancestors called 'keewaydinung' - land of the northwest wind - my experiences of our vast and wild regions are. ultimately, trans-cultural in nature. Whenever 1 travel into those ancient and sacred spaces, path underfoot or paddle in hand, it is my 'internal' experiences of being there that I later try to 'externalize' in my drawings. I choose to do this in a style that is largely derived from the artistic traditions of Aboriginal people as they are the ones whose lives have been most intertwined with the natural world and whose images and stories most resonate with me But the messages that 1 try to incorporate and communicate in much of my work such as connection, interdependence and unity, are universal."

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By The Stream by Mark Nadjiwan