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Land is Medicine: Art at O-Train Extension stations

Spring Ride (ink on metallic paper) by artist Heather Campbell. Canadian flora and fauna and human faces are depicted in blue and golden tones.


It’s an exciting time for transit in Ottawa! With O‑Train Extension construction advancing along each extension, the project teams are thrilled to include Indigenous Artwork to beautify construction sites. In the spirit of the City of Ottawa’s Reconciliation Action Plan, nine Indigenous artists submitted culturally relevant images on the theme ‘Land is Medicine’ from their culture and territory. Land is central to First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures.

In Indigenous healing traditions, the land itself can heal. Within the diversity of Indigenous cultures, the representation of land, animals, fish, and plants are common themes and grounded in culture and traditions. Images of the artwork from nine Indigenous artists will be displayed on O‑Train Extension construction hoarding and will increase the visibility of Indigenous art and artists across the city.

Honouring the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples Ottawa is built on un-ceded Algonquin Anishinabe territory.

The peoples of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation have lived on this territory for millennia. Their culture and presence have nurtured and continue to nurture this land. The City of Ottawa honours the peoples and land of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. The City of Ottawa honours all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and their valuable past and present contributions to this land.

Summary of Indigenous Artists

Stephanie Tenasco, artist from Kitigan Zibi First Nation

Stephanie Tenasco is an Algonquin artist from Kitigan Zibi, Quebec. Growing up in her community, she had the opportunity to learn traditional art. Now she can pass on her knowledge to others. Mi iyo nī mino-pimadjiwowin – “this is my good path, this is my culture”.
Stephanie says she is very thankful to have the opportunity to learn moccasin making and beading techniques as a child growing up in the community of Kitigan Zibi. Gaining this knowledge from her community elders has led her to bigger opportunities. The focus of her artistic practice is passing down the Indigenous knowledge of beadwork and leatherwork to the next generation.

Title: Pakìgino -makizinan (Moccasins)  
Medium: Leather and beadwork.

Title: Wìgwàs (Birch Bark) 
Medium: Beading on birch bark

Heather Campbell

Heather is from Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, Newfoundland and holds a BFA from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is currently working at the Inuit Art Foundation as the Strategic Initiatives Director. Formerly, Heather was contracted as the Curatorial Assistant in the Indigenous Art Department at the National Gallery of Canada. She was Curatorial Assistant at the Inuit Art Centre, in Ottawa for a number of years, and was on the Board of Directors for Gallery 101, an artist run centre as well as on the Board of the Artist Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario.
Heather Campbell’s art has been in a number of group exhibitions, most recently Nunatsiavut - Our Beautiful Land, at la guilde in Montreal, Quebec. Her work can be found in many collections including the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Quebec, Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in Ottawa, and Carleton University, Ottawa.

Title: Legends
Medium: ink on mineral paper

Title: Spring Ride
Medium: ink on mineral paper

Laurie Bennett, artist from Pikwàkanagàn First Nation

Laurie Bennett enjoys painting with acrylics on drums, paddles, and canvas. She also uses quills for various art pieces. Laurie conducts workshops using animal hides to make clothing in the way of her ancestors, as was passed on by elders. Laurie translates her sketches and doodles into beadwork to embellish traditional clothing in her practices.
Laurie is influenced by elders’ teachings and passing on of knowledge from one generation to another. She was introduced to hide work when reconnecting with the Pikwàkanagàn community: “I have been raised off reserve. Due to the times, we were not proud of who we are. The teachings and the helping at having pride in who I am, and where I came from. Teachings I receive, enable me to assist in ribbon skirt, and regalia making. I am eager to bring back our traditional work, and love learning.”

Title: Breath.
Medium: Ink/marker

Title: Wisdom.
Medium: Ink/marker

Jaime Morse, artist from Michif/Nehiyaw Nation

Jaime is Michif/Nehiyaw who grew up in Lac La Biche in northern, Alberta.
In 2009, Jaime attended a State Visit with former Governor General, The Honourable Michaëlle Jean to Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala and in 2014 was the recipient of the Emerging Aboriginal Artist Award from the Ontario Arts Council for her work in visual arts both contemporary and traditional as well as dance and storytelling. Jaime was the Indigenous Artist in Residence in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts & Student on Ice for expedition 2015 to Nunavut and Greenland.
Jaime is the mother of four children, three of which were a part of a Michif cultural dance group called Jaime & Jiglets and now, Prairie Fire. Recently, Jaime has been a founding member of a new national arts advocacy group in Canada called: Shushkitew Métis Arts Collective and is an Educator - Indigenous Programs and Outreach at the National Gallery of Canada.
Jaime Morse is a multi-disciplinary Michif/Nehiyaw visual artist with a B.A. from Carleton University in Canadian Studies and founder of Indigenous Walks, an Indigenous perspectives tour company on Anishnabe Territory, also known as Ottawa, ON.

Title: Waiting to be Born
Medium: stroud, beads, thread - Patrick Gordon Framing

Title: Family
Medium: Deer hide, wood, ink,

Naomi Blondin, artist from Kitigan Zibi First Nation

Naomi was born in Laval Quebec and has spent most of her life in the Ottawa Valley. She is Algonquin and French-Canadian and a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nations Community. Most of her artwork reflects the cultural influences from her Algonquin ancestry as well as some of the more renown Indigenous Canadian artists, and holds a special place in her heart for woodland style art. She is a visual artist and enjoys finding the beauty in the natural world and creating her own images of the spiritual realm.
Naomi’s visions and concepts are often influenced with First Nation values and current socio-economic and health disparities between Canadians and Indigenous communities. Her urban upbringing left her feeling lost in the big city and led her and her family to live in a more rural location where she spends her spare time painting and creating art in various formats and media. Keeping her ties to her Algonquin Territory and where the outdoors and nature can connect people to the healing spirit.

Title: Waterfowl
Medium: Mix medium, watercolour and ink on cold press watercolour paper.

Title: Springbloom
Medium: Mix medium, watercolour and ink on cold press watercolour paper.

Sylvia Tennisco, artist from Pikwàkanagàn First Nation

An Algonquin Cultural Artist in the Ottawa Valley working with a variety of mediums from illustrating, painting and photography to multimedia. She has more than 25 years of visual creative experience with a degree in Visual Creative Arts/Graphic Design. She has won several art awards during her academic years beginning at the High School of Commerce Prestigious Arts program based in Ottawa, Ontario. From there she is a proud alumni member of St. Lawrence College, Kingston and received her Multi-Media Certification from Toronto Image Works, based in Toronto, Ontario. For a short time after she became a published illustrator of Cree language Children’s Books for the Cree School Board of Quebec based in Montreal. From that point she returned home to learn more about her Algonquin Culture, and to focus on First Nation Algonquin themes relating to animals, nature, and people. She now has several murals around the Ottawa Valley with various school boards and is also a proud member of the Madawaska Valley Studio Tours ongoing since 2017. She is also a member with the Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio/Renfrew County Pop-Up Tours since 2019. She has her artwork displayed through-out the Ottawa Valley including her Community of Pikwakanagan and the City of Ottawa such as Lebreton Flats, Pimisi LRT Station and at the Pindigen Park.

Title: Water Spirit Painting
Medium: Oil on canvas, abstraction inspired.

Title: Fur trade on the River
Medium: Oil on Canvas, illustrative style.

Mairi, Claire and Simon Brascoupé, artists from Kitigan Zibi First Nation

Claire Brascoupé, is an Algonquin Anishinabe artist practicing in community-based public art with a vision to promoting Algonquin culture and artists. She has experience in several public art projects in the Ottawa and Gatineau: Algonquin Birch Bark Basket Sculpture, Place Abinan, Gatineau Quebec; Algonquin Canoe sculpture, Algonquin Moose sculpture and Algonquin Birch Bark Biting Window Designs, Pimisi Station, Ottawa, Ontario. She is also a digital media artist, animator and filmmaker A member of Kitigan Zibi First Nation, Mairi Brascoupé was born and raised in Ottawa. Having done her Bachelor of Design at Ryerson University in fashion and costume making; she was interested in applying her Indigenous culture to her design practice and continued to do this during her MA at Central Saint Martin’s in London, England. With the aim of decolonizing research approaches and the design process, she brings traditional knowledge into academic and design spaces. She continues to bring Indigenous artists and students into the arts at the National Arts Centre as their Indigenous Cultural Resident. Simon Brascoupé is a Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg artist living in Algonquin territory in Ottawa. He has completed public art including: Algonquin Birch Bark Basket at Abinan Place, large mural for the Heart Institute, Ottawa and a mural at Carleton University’s Indigenous student centre. He completed two large public artworks for the Pimisi Station: Mamawi – Together paddle installation painted by 100 Algonquin artists – and Algonquin moose. His artistic vision is to have a significant presence in public art and institutions for Algonquin and Indigenous art and culture.

Artists: Claire Brascoupé and Mairi Brascoupé
Title: Butterflies and Flowers (Left)
Title: Chickadees and Flowers (Right)
Medium: Birchbark biting.

Artists: Simon Brascoupe and Mairi Brascoupé
Title: Spring, Summer
Medium: Birchbark biting.