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Leanne Hodges is primarily a self-taught artist with an academic background and technical training acquired in a variety of visual art programs in the US and Canada. For more than twenty years, she pursued an art practice while developing a remote charter boat company and raising her son, Kai. In the far reaches of coastal BC, Leanne worked as an artist, a DFO contractor enumerating salmon streams, and a guide and naturalist for wildlife charters.

Images of wildlife, coastal landscapes, indigenous cultures, and environmental themes are expressively interwoven in Leanneʼs paintings and mixed media artworks. Technically and creatively, she is attracted to and challenged by cross media formats, with a special interest in life-size models and murals. This gives her artwork a uniqueness and originality not typically found in west coast portraiture, wildlife or landscape art.

These qualities converge in Leanneʼs current interest in paper pulp, an eco-conscious medium capable of lightweight applications and increased pliability for three dimensional pieces. It also lends versatility to highly modelled and textured surfaces in her works on canvas.

Currently her focus is on new works that evoke a spiritual and passionate connection with the wilderness as an intrinsic value. Urgently reaching out to the viewer to behold the sacred union between the human soul and Mother Nature as out higher power…

… before what we have is erased from existence.

Robert Martens grew up in a village founded by Mennonite refugees from the Soviet Union. Still in his teens, he leapfrogged several centuries into the postmodern milieu of student politics at Simon Fraser University. Robert subsequently settled in Abbotsford, BC, where he writes poems and enjoys the spoiled existence of the wealthy West. He has co-written and co-edited histories, anthologies, and periodicals; his most recent publication is a book of poems, hush. Robert is grateful for poetry, music, movies, friends and family, and for his cat, who sleeps soundly through the injustices of this world.

P’ eq sq’oves Slha’ :li’- Yvette carries her traditional name, White-Plume-Woman, meaning close to the heart. She is Sto:lo meaning “People of the Fraser river” and is from Chawathil First Nations. Her healing journey began over 24 years ago; traditionally, culturally, and spiritually. Many of those years have been spent working alongside elders, spiritual healers, teachers and people of many different cultures and hierarchies. She has extensive knowledge of traditional plants and medicine.

Yvette is a caretaker, works in archeology, and also works with storytelling, Salish weaving, spiritual cleansing, and runs sweat lodges. Yvette’s talk is entitled “Traditional plants and Medicine.” This knowledge, which is common to First Nations people, has been passed on to her by mother Ida John, elders, herbologists and botanists.

Claude ‘Rocky’ LaRock was born in 1958 in Seattle, Washington. At 12 years of age, Rocky moved to his mother’s Coast Salish homeland, the beautiful little community called Sts’ailes, nestled at the foot of Mt. Hemlock, located in the Fraser Valley.

For four decades Rocky has built a successful career as a first Nations artist showcasing his work in galleries, businesses, and private collections. Rocky also uses his talents to teach First Nations’ culture and art in many institutions such as the First Nations Correctional facility, the University of the Fraser Valley, and the community Sts’ ailes school.

Rocky’s art is greatly influenced by the forests, surrounding wildlife, and a lifestyle rich in Coast Salish culture. Rocky continues to reside with his family in Sts ‘ailes and is an active member of the community and cultural traditions.

Carrie BeskoCarrie is a freelance writer who grew up on property in Northern Mission and now resides in Deroche, BC with her husband, son, and four-legged companions. She has always been drawn to words and language and began writing short stories in grade school, moving on to pursue English and Social Media & Culture studies post-secondary. She has contributed to several local publications through writing and editing and is a regular contributor to The Footprint Press. Since her move to Deroche five years ago, she established and maintains the website and social media platforms for “The Deroche Decibel” to help connect people and share local resources in her small and often isolated community.

Although writing has been a huge part of her life, her true passion has been the welfare of animals, both domestic and wild. She spent years working as a Veterinary nurse and now focuses much of her writing on compassionate ways to help the creatures around us. Carrie gains inspiration from spending time outdoors and reconnecting with nature and has a large list of hobbies including crocheting, reading, music, art, film, Eastern philosophy, cooking and nutrition.

Lovena MortonLovena is a native to Mission and now lives in Maple Ridge. She graduated from Simon Fraser University with a degree in Environmental Science and a focus in Applied Biology. She has worked with local groups such as the South Coast Conservation Program, Fraser Valley Conservancy, and the Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition to raise awareness and enhance habitat for species and ecological communities at risk in the area. Her passion lies in environmental sustainability and she hopes to continue to undertake projects and follow a career that allows her to do what she loves.

 

 

 

Peter GongPeter Gong was born in Mission B.C. and raised in Maple Ridge on Whonnock reserve #1. As a teenager, his uncle introduced him to west coast native art, in the form of carving wood and ivory. West Coast art has become a driving passion in his life, and he now works full time in his carving studio at his home in Mission . As an artist he wants to create new pieces that challenge his abilities and skills as a carver. Thanks go out to his friend and mentor Tom Patterson, and the late George Pennier (Leon), who have helped him develop as an artist.

 

 

 

Brandon GabrielBrandon has been a professional artist since he was 15 years and was recognized as an artistic prodigy at the age of 12. He was recognized for his contributions of Indigenous Arts by the Governor-General when he was 20.

Brandon was educated at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Cultural Anthropology and visual arts, and went on to receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.

He currently practices his art through an increasing amount of different types of media including painting, graphic design, metal sculpture, lighting design, photography, and will be returning to school for his second Bachelor’s degree, this time he will be studying Motion Picture Arts studying at Capilano University in the fall of 2015.

Brandon has exhibited in the United States, Hong Kong, England, Scotland, South America, and across Canada.

 

 

Gary HaggquistThe natural world has long been Gary Haggquist’s wellspring of inspiration. Memories of exploring the forests of his youth can still flood his senses with the sounds and smells of those wild places on the edge of suburbia. Like many of us however, traveling down the intersecting avenues and returning to the comfort of my home every night, the wild remained very much “other worldly.” A longing for a deeper connection with nature later took him, through job experiences and personal trips, to many remote areas of B.C. and Manitoba. These years after art school were ones of soul searching and of gathering experience along the path to finding his voice as an artist.

David HancockDavid Hancock has spent most of his life studying west coast and arctic wildlife. He has published scientific and popular books and papers on whales, seals, seabirds, grouse and his specialty, the northern raptors. Prior to starting Hancock House Publishers he was a pilot and wildlife film producer — again specializing in the native cultures and wildlife of the coast and north. He recently completed a book on eagles, The Bald Eagle of Alaska, BC and Washington and another book on the northwest coast Indians, Tlingit: Their Art and Culture. As well, he has a book on the Alaska-Yukon wildflowers nearing press. Currently he is undertaking studies of the bald eagles along the northwest coast and working on a sandhill crane breeding project. See www.hancockwildlife.org