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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. These days I make my home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada.

My work: I paint from my personal experiences and observations obtained from living according to the teachings and lifestyle that keep me focussed and grateful. I have a family and community that means the world to me. Much of my inspiration comes from a good life connected to the land and my brothers and sisters, and from numerous teachers, wisdom keepers, and Elders. I try always to walk in in a way that leaves a wake of kindness and inspires hope.

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. I create with gratitude for what I've been given.Each painting takes the viewer on a journey into the spiritual voice of an ancient time. I try to offer a sense of having learned something through the stories that seek to teach and remember that living in a good way means everything.

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

Awarded the Rotary Club's Paul Harris Fellow Award - June 2023
Winner of the Faces Ottawa Best Painter Award - February 2022

Heritage House Museum Exhibition - August 2021
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 (the original paintings):

Instagram: colleengrayart

Artist Colleen Gray - Governor General Award pic.jpg
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