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The First People of this land knew that the winged-ones and the four-legged ones — such as the loon (maang) and the otter (negik) — were gifted with the power to teach. Today, the New People of this land can also leam the lessons imparted in the song of Loon and the playfulness of Otter. Loon-song demonstrates the importance of communication. Loon, who mates for life, also exemplifies fidelity. Otter can bring healing and balance to the seriousness of our modem lives by reminding us of the importance of our childlike, playful side. In the picture, one can see an inner circle — Mother Earth — wherein Loon gets ready to greet the day with her characteristic tremolo. Framing the Earth on the left is Otter, who will while away much of his day in frolicsome antics. The cardinal pointer and small yellow circle represent the East where each new day begins with the rising sun beckoning Loon and Otter 'to sing and play.'

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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To Sing and Play by Mark Nadjiwan

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