So Much Depends on Who Holds the Shovel acknowledges and celebrates both the foundation, beauty, and interconnectedness of life.
Quiet Moment of Gratitude
16″ x 20″, Acrylic on Canvas, 2014
“The ancestors & spirits understand everything that is in our hearts. Everything we are going to say, they know before we say it. In the quiet moments, while we are alone, we can find our ways back to understanding who we truly are.”
Offerings to Save The World
Acrylic on Canvas, 72" x 55.25", 2017
Quick! Drop everything. The future will look as the past, The Elders have foretold. Quick! Give everything. For every baby to be born Of every species forever to come. Born into water. Born onto an earth of water. Quick! Go to the River. Bring your shaker. Sing to save the world. Quick! Go to the Water's edge. Bring feast food. Give offerings to save the world. Mother Earth is the almighty.
Offerings and Prayers for Genebek Ziibiing
36″ x 48″, Acrylic on Canvas, 2014
Between 1955 to 1978, there were over 30 tailings dumps and spills from uranium mines at Elliot Lake into 10 lakes, and Serpent River. The radiation from uranium dumps has completely killed the life in the waters and the people of Genaabaajing are still living with the devastating environmental effects today. Water is the very lifeblood of Mother Earth. Water, and our connection to everything in the spirit world depends upon us keeping everything in balance. Every time we make our offerings and say words to the waters, it's helping to restore the balance the earth needs. I send my love to this river, and all waters.This painting was inspired by the stories & teachings of Isaac Murdoch. Miigwetch Issac for continuing to teach the people how to live in balance.
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Âptîgosan artist and author Christi Belcourt states, “My paintings are all about the interconnectedness of all living things to the spirit and power of Mother Earth; the medicines of the plant world and the life that the waters hold on this earth for us all. My people come from the land so connection to land, water and our relatives is the most important thing. We are indebted to all living things that sustain life on earth. Our place is where we come from, rooted in our ancestors and in our lands.
So it also becomes important to protect the lands and waters and stand up for them. It means that my art is sometimes made and used for actions against resource extraction corporations, who are pillaging and plundering the earth. It means that I must not only create art to remind people of their own connection to the earth, but I must use my voice as an artist to speak up for the earth and against injustice. And join the many other voices globally seeking social Justice and climate Justice.”
Belcourt’s personal beadwork also imbues her paintings which, in her words, “are directly related to the practice and aesthetic of floral beadwork that is part of the cultural legacy left to us by our ancestors.” Some of her larger works are created with over 250,000 dots.
When asked what is her next aesthetic exploration, Belcourt states, “At the moment I feel I’m in a period of change. Of growth. And of uncertainty. I’m drawing inward. For the past 10 years I’ve been involved in leading two major community/grassroots projects. One on murdered and missing Indigenous women called “Walking With Our Sisters” that involved thousands of people over eight years, in art and ceremony. The other which is still ongoing is Nimkii Aazhibikong, a year round Indigenous language, culture and arts camp on the land. Built from the ground up we did it without government funding. … Suffice it to say, I’m drawing inward now. I need to read. Rest. Recharge. Allow my mind to be free. To dream and connect with the earth and plant in dirt from seeds. To unplug from social media and plug into the spiritual fabric of Mother Earth. So what’s next? I don’t know. But I’m excited for the possibility of what might come.
*Photo on cover page: courtesy of the artist
Christi Belcourt & Walking with Our Sisters' Contact Information: