Indigenous & Ingenious – Media Release


November 1, 2012


Indigenous & Ingenious, a trunk show and sale of works and wares by First Nations artists is being held at The Gladstone Hotel at 1214 Queen Street West on Saturday November 10 and Sunday November 12, 2012. The show will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and admission is free.

Indigenous & Ingenious is an intriguing showcase of traditional and contemporary design aesthetics. It brings together four First Nations artists working in four creative directions.  Jason Jenkins, Barbra Nahwegahbow, Jay Bell Redbird and Naomi Smith are unique artists who draw on their Native heritage in obvious and not so obvious ways. Their work, comprised of photographs and art cards, traditional beadwork, paintings depicting Native teachings, and high-fashion jewellery will be on sale during the weekend show.

The Artists

Jason Jenkins – Just like the diversity in his life, Jason is the perfect mix. Of Ojibway-African and French heritage, Jason’s artistic path of cultural rediscovery has seen him build 15 years of experience as a multi-disciplinary artist. He’s a photographer, curator and DJ. He’s shot professionally for such events as the Irie Festival, imagineNATIVE, NXNE and Manifesto, and he’s also shot photographic stills on television and film sets. Jason had a solo photo exhibition entitled Urbanography for Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts, and his photos are on display at Keriwa Café on Queen Street in Toronto. RasDigenous, a series that looks at the similarities between Rastafari and Indigenous cultures will tour with the documentary Rasta starring the granddaughter of Bob Marley, Donisha Prendergast. Jason’s curatorial debut project (2010), Red Runners was re-mounted in the Bata Shoe Museum for Planet IndigenUS in 2012.

Barbra Nahwegahbow – Barb is Ojibway, born and raised in a family of 11 children on the Whitefish River First Nation near Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario. Her father supported the family by trapping, working as a fishing guide and doing pretty well any other kind of work that was available. Barb began designing jewellery several years ago and is largely self-taught. Having lived and worked in Toronto for many years, her designs are influenced by the urban environment and the more natural environment in which she grew up. Barb loves to both design and wear bold and unique pieces that combine unexpected components. She uses semi-precious and precious gemstones and combines them with wood, nuts, seeds and seeds, or porcelain, resin, hand-felted or metal accent pieces. Vintage finds from antique markets also make their way into her designs. Some of Barb’s work may be viewed at:

Jay Bell Redbird – Jay is a self-taught Woodlands artist who was influenced by the likes of artists Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Beardy, Cecil Youngfox, his father Duke Redbird, and his uncle Leland Bell. These formidable teachers taught him about colours, techniques, Aboriginal language, history and teachings, and the value of sharing his art to demonstrate the beauty of Aboriginal culture. Since those formative years, Jay has found his own voice and his own stories, and his own way of telling them on canvas. Jay is a member of the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve but currently lives in Toronto. He dedicates his paintings to his seven children. He’s had a number of exhibitions, both solo and group shows. Most recently, he had a successful solo exhibition at the Communication Gallery on Harbord Street in Toronto. Jay’s work may be viewed at:

Naomi Smith – Naomi is a Native Artisan and Educator from Neyaashiinigmiing Ontario. An early awareness of her First Nations heritage forged a strong interest in Native American beadwork, adornment and textiles. Naomi designs and creates traditional Native Beadwork, Quill work, Sweetgrass or birch bark basket making and Moose Hair embroidery, always valuing these Sacred materials throughout her creative process. “Honouring our traditions is my voice within and beyond my Culture and Community. Traditionally there is no word for “art” in Native languages yet artistry and visual expression are critical in defining who we are as First Nations people. It is this path I wish to exemplify through my teachings and my work.”

Contact: Barb Nahwegahbow; Email:

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