Pictured: Jordan Quequish and his painting “The Turtle and the Thunder Being” 

Artist Jordan Quequish is Anishinaabe, Sturgeon Clan from North Caribou Lake First Nation (Weagamow) in Treaty #9 in Northern Ontario. Known for painting in the Woodland Style, Quequish bases his work on traditional Anishinaabe teachings, stories and legends. Quequish began painting at a young age and was first inspired by watching his father draw. Growing up, he learned how to live off the land from his grandparents who also taught him the language and history of his people.

As a youth, Quequish immersed himself in his art, which helped him develop his identity and build his confidence. His mentor, noted Woodland artist Saul Williams, helped him hone his artistic talents, leading him on the path he walks today. Quequish now hopes to pass on the same support to other budding artists by sharing his teachings and art. To date, he has travelled to many communities in Northern Ontario and parts of Manitoba, providing art classes for children, youth and adults. He hopes his art will spark creativity and inspire others to pursue their passions.

Quequish currently resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where he is a busy father and an active community member. He leads drum and sharing circles, and makes hand drums, rattles and other ceremonial items. He is also part of a group called The Creative Company—a collective of artists who aim to provide creative outlets for others. In partnership with The Creative Company, Quequish has developed art kits to help promote art as healing for Indigenous Peoples.

For more information, check out Jordan Quequish’s Artwork on Facebook.

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Artist’s Statement: “Working with the turtle teaches us to look at life from the beginning of time, from early organisms to the life that we see here today on Mikinaak Minitig (Turtle Island), North America. On Mikinaak Minitig, we are given all the plant medicines and animal beings that we need to sustain us, keep us well, live strong and Mashkowaadiziiwin (live a truthful life). The Thunder Beings and Mikinaak also share the connection of water. The Thunder Being’s lightning cleanses Turtle Island and its waters with each strike. The Elders in the north teach us that the loon represents kindness, to treat all living things with Gizhewaadizoon (kindness). The one that speaks for the Thunder Beings, the lightning that comes to his mouth, represents that gift of knowledge and speaking the truth. We live by the four elements of life: water, earth, air and fire. Miigwech, Gaakinaawiiyag.” – Jordan Quequish, Sturgeon Clan.