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First Nations artists share their craft

Located in municipal hall, Darlene Allison’s legacy sculpture “Cherish the Day” was created during her stint as an artist in residence in Maple Ridge from 2002 to 2004.  - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Located in municipal hall, Darlene Allison’s legacy sculpture “Cherish the Day” was created during her stint as an artist in residence in Maple Ridge from 2002 to 2004.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

In celebration of National Aboriginal History Month, the Fraser Valley Regional Library will be hosting two talented Aboriginal Artists in Residence.

Darlene Allison and Jay Havens will each be making 12 visits to various FVRL locations to showcase their craft, chat with the public and present programs to groups of all ages.

Allison was born in Manitoba and is a member of the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation. She is a self-taught artist who has been creating art in many forms for over 35 years.

Allison is skilled in drawing, painting and sculpture, but her focus for the past 14 years has been on carving alabasters and soap stones, some of which she gathered herself from mountains right here in B.C.

All of Allison’s imaginative pieces are one of a kind works of art, and she has sold them to private collectors locally, and as far away as Australia.

Allison’s legacy sculpture, titled “Cherish the Day,” was created during her stint as an artist in residence in Maple Ridge from 2002 to 2004. It is located in Maple Ridge’s municipal hall.

Allison will be demonstrating her soapstone carving at FVRL locations and interacting with people of all ages.

Havens is an interdisciplinary artist working in the fields of visual arts, mural making and scenography (stage design and production).

He is a proud descendant of the Haudenosaunee Mohawk Nation on his mother’s side and of Euro-Canadian roots on his father’s.

A long-time resident of Fraser Valley, Havens currently spends his days working as a freelance designer, artist in residence, and instructor for several universities, school districts and production companies throughout the Lower Mainland.

Much of his work examines stories and the ways in which stories can be told visually to act as communicators between cultures.

Havens is a master’s candidate at Emily Carr University, where he is researching Canadian aboriginality, visual narrative and engaging communities through storytelling. Using local materials, culture, narrative, and Bunraku – traditional Japanese style puppets, as inspiration, Havens will share the art of visual storytelling as he crafts a large five foot puppet that will take two people to articulate.

Meet the artists

• Darlene Allison will be at the Pitt Meadows library today, June 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m and at the Maple Ridge branch on Monday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Jay Havens will visit the Maple Ridge Public Library on Saturday, June 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During his visits, Havens will be demonstrating the art of visual storytelling while he crafts a five-foot-tall puppet that will take two people to articulate.

• For a tour schedule visit www.fvrl.bc.ca/aboriginalartist.php.

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