by Lisa Shepherd & Kristi Bridgeman
All rights reserved
Lisa Shepherd & Kristi Bridgeman
Salmon’s value to the early Métis of British Columbia cannot be understated. Before the turn of the century, Métis in BC relied not on buffalo, as was the case east of the Rockies, but on the water’s abundant food source. Salmon was harvested everywhere from the fertile Columbia and Fraser rivers, to smaller streams throughout the West. It was an important trade good. Posts such as Fort Langley brought in large quantities to be processed—salted and layered in oak barrels that were made in the fort’s cooperage. The salmon was distributed far and wide along trade routes, often being the only source between survival and starvation. Indeed, explorations could be delayed by a year if the salmon hadn’t yet come in. In those days, we are told the rivers ran red with returning salmon.
In Mistamîkos, our salmon completes its life cycle with a final act of spawning in a cool clear stream. Moving outward, we see the life cycle from eyed eggs and alevin in the eastern doorway, to spawning adults in the north. The outer border shows just a few of the creatures dependant on salmon; from human beings, to the great blue heron, otters, orcas, eagle, wolf, bear and even—as the salmon passes back into the earth—the forests.
Mixed media: elk hide, glass & semi-precious beads, watercolour, sepia ink on paper.
This original work is 26” x 26” and has been shadow box framed with archival and anti-glare glass.
About Forget-me-not, Métis Rose: the Far West
Forget-me-not, Métis Rose: the Far West is the third body of collaborative work in the Forget-me-not, Métis Rose touring exhibition by cousins Lisa Shepherd and Kristi Bridgeman. The Far West collection celebrates the culture, tenacity and indeed the very existence of Métis people in British Columbia. The first Forget-me-not, Métis Rose collection showed at the Jasper Museum & Archives and celebrated the Métis stories and the plants endemic to that area, while the second collection showed at the Musée Heritage Museum in St. Albert, Alberta, and told a broader story of the Métis across the prairies. This latest collection, the Far West, localizes the story for the Métis of British Columbia, an often invisible group of people too often viewed through a pan-Indigenous lens. These are their distinct stories.
About the collaboration
Lisa Shepherd and Kristi Bridgeman, Métis artists, met serendipitously through an artist group, where they exchanged stories of family and ancestry. As they pieced together their stories, they began to realize their connection through their common ancestor Suzette Swift. With Suzette watching over them, the artists share their knowledge, explore their culture and create a collaborative body of work honour their Grandmothers and Métis ancestral designs.
This original piece is for sale.
Please EMAIL LISA SHEPHERD to purchase.