Colleen Gray

Metis Artist
Making A Difference

My Home: My Mother’s people are Mi’kmaq/Acadian. My Father’s people are Irish. I was born and grew up in Petawawa, Ontario, Canada; a place made perfect by the local beach, deep-hole swamps, turtle ponds and the beauty of the Canadian Shield - sacred ground for a curious child.

My work: I paint from my personal experiences and observations obtained from living Indigenously in the best way I can. Inspiration comes from my ceremonial teachings and from numerous teachers, wisdom keepers, Elders and friends over a span of 30 years. I try always to walk in in a way that makes the world around me a bit more kind.

I enjoy various mediums, but my passion lies in ground mineral water colour on synthetic paper. The sometimes unpredictable effects of this platform are exciting and unique. There are few people creating in this medium and I have begun teaching to invite more people to connect to its benefits and unique nature. It is a meditative process that teaches us to slow down, minimize our scope, and focus on the smaller details.

Many traditional stories and representatives of the Spirit World are prominently featured in my work because they live in me and with me every single day. Each painting takes the viewer on a journey into the visual voice of an ancient time and offers a sense of having learned something new after discovering the interesting stories that accompany each piece of work. My art focuses on teaching people about Indigenous culture through the connected art stories. Along with storytelling, my work often reflects the state of our only home, the Earth. It also echoes the frustrations of my brothers and sisters who struggle with racism, poverty and conflict nearly every single day because of colonial restraints.

My Mission: My volunteer work through The Art For Aid Project has become a priority for me as an artist hoping to make a difference in Canada's remote Indigenous schools. I want to create a way to ensure quality art supplies and skills labs are reaching remote community schools to nurture budding artists. Art offers an avenue for expression and healing, and presents a way to pass the time in a constructive and beautiful way; art is a strong portal where healing and imagination compliment each other. For nearly 10 years I’ve donated my time and efforts to building Art for Aid. In 2021 I began to sell my original artwork to supplement our household income so I could continue to work as a volunteer. Art isn’t just something I do; being an artist is who I am in the world.

Career Highlights

Winner of the Faces Ottawa Best Painter Award - February 2022

Heritage House Museum Exhibition - August 2021
In Partnership with The Bateman Foundation - January 2021 (Art for Aid)

The Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers - June 2019
Solo Exhibition - City of Ottawa Oct/Nov 2019
Eagles Rising Billboard Campaign - 2019
Missing and Murdered (Eagles Rising) Billboard Campaign - 2019

Art Website: Instagram: colleengrayart

Artist Colleen Gray - Governor General Award pic.jpg