Nathalie Bertin

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Loup Garou & Moccasins (2022)

July 9 - August 27, 2022: Station Gallery, Whitby, ON
September 2 - October 29, 2002: Latcham Art Centre, Stouffville, ON

ARTIST STATEMENT: In 2021, I had a conversation with an ecologist, Alison Lake, who was studying wolves and coyote populations in our neck of the woods. Within the larger discussion, we talked about observed behaviours and interesting DNA discoveries where some wolves (looked like wolves and acted like wolves) had full coyote DNA and coyotes (looked like coyotes and acted like coyotes) had wolf DNA. In some cases, they found coyotes with coyote DNA behaved like wolves, and so on for the wolves acting like coyote. She said it basically turned everything they thought they knew about coyotes and wolves out the window. But now, academics are having a hard time naming these animals. (She even found the name "Algonquin wolf" to be unfortunate as it makes it seem like they are a distinct breed when they are actually Eastern Wolves.) Apparently, naming these creatures has become a huge point of contention among these biologists. Are they wolves because they have wolf DNA or because they behave like wolves? Same for the coyotes.

This got me thinking. What is this really all about? Beyond just placing animals within a taxonomic ranking system, it's about the funding academics and other organizations will get to either study the animal (gain more knowledge about them) or to "manage" the population. If it wasn't to fund or to cull, why else would it matter how wolves or coyotes are named? The animals know what they are! Who wins or loses in this debate?

Read full Artist Statement here. Selected images from the exhibition below. The Moccushions can be seen on this page.

Assa MArie Pierre
Jeanne Isabelle et Elizabeth
memeres bois brule

Rise. Love. Heal. Celebrate! (2018)

ARTIST STATEMENT: Throughout art history, indigenous people and women in general have been romanticized in glorious depictions based in surreal ideals. As most provinces are now implementing a new curriculum to teach a more accurate version of Canada’s colonial history, my goal as a visiting Metis artist in schools is to share my culture with students and faculty on the “front lines” of delivery. In tandem, working with like-minded indigenous and non-indigenous artists, collaborating on actions from the Truth & Reconciliation Report has helped me to pave a way to show the world we are more than what has been told about us in the old history books.

I have seen and experienced realities about indigenous people throughout my life. Social media has allowed us all a window into the troubles and the absolute joys of what it means to be indigenous in Canada today. Although indigenous women continue to be targets of violence, we rise to face oppression. We hang on to traditions as we take our rightful space in modern society. We work hard, we are passionate, we love, we heal and we celebrate. My aim is to present a different view of indigenous women – one that is positive, powerful, knowledgeable, gentle and kind – because these are the women I know. The artwork in this latest series are inspired by the moments in time that shine a light on our humanity.


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Honouring Ancestors (2016)

The search for identity seems to have been a continuing theme throughout my artistic career. This became even more evident after I had my DNA profile done in early 2015. Some of what I learned about myself and my ancestry was a surprise, some obvious and many, many questions were answered. As I go back to this data and dig deeper into the science, I have been able to trace back my lineage well over 40 thousand years. Each time, I learn something new and each time, new questions arise. It's amazing to think what my predecessors must have seen and lived through - their resilience as human beings. Who were they? And could they have known that they would be responsible for producing offspring who would be alive today? What would they think of me? Am I like them? What other traits do I share with them?

As a female, my DNA Haplogroup is based on my mother's lineage. Although I've inherited my father's DNA as well, I thought it made sense to start this artistic exploration through my maternal lineage in a step by step process. The first paintings in this series of work are about my ancestral mothers.


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To view older work (catalogues in PDF format), please contact the studio.

© Nathalie Bertin, 2009-2022.
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