Métis art series in Sask. aims to tell cultural stories while boosting up-and-coming artists

The first of three art installations represents the Métis buffalo hunt. (Jayda Taylor/CTV Prince Albert)

A series of outdoor art installations in Prince Albert is telling stories of the area’s Métis people and passing along that knowledge for the next generation.

The Métis Artist Mentorship Project began last year between two Métis artists, Leah Dorion and her mentee, Danielle Castle. This summer, another up-and-coming artist, Ashley Smith, is working with Dorion on a series of installations.

“Leah has so much knowledge, and so it’s just great to be able to learn and work alongside her,” said Smith.

“I am a Métis woman, so to be able to continue learning about my culture and my identity is just an amazing opportunity.”

The pair will be installing three different art projects around the Mann Art Gallery throughout July and August, each telling a story about the Métis way of life. The art will be on display for several weeks.

The first art installation took place on Friday.

The public was invited to the gallery a few days before to paint bison and horse cut-outs to depict Métis values. The bison were staked outside of the gallery to represent the Métis buffalo hunt.

“To be able to build future leadership, that’s what I live for,” said Dorion.

“I like seeing young, upcoming future Métis women leaders get supported, so that they, in the long-term, can share also to the next generation.”

The art is also inspired by Dorion’s collection of children’s books exploring the Métis culture.