Healing through Art:
By: John Lagimodiere
with permission from
Johnny Marceland is from the remote Saskatchewan community of Birch Narrows First Nation. This Dene artist encourages local youth to use art for personal development and a way to work through issues. His goal is to use art as a healing tool.
Johnny first took up art in 1982 when he was drying out at a detox center in Winnipeg. Alcohol had caused turmoil in his life and created marital difficulties. Now sober, he says art was an outlet to express his emotions and overcome his personal problems. These are skills he hopes to pass on to future generations.
Marceland works mainly with acrylics on canvas and most of his art depicts nature. He also like to do wood carving, sculpting and singing with with a hand drum. He also like to write poetry about healing. His long term goal is to set up an art school for northern First Nation youth. Marceland is a little frustrated by the lack of support from his own community that doesn't really appreciate art. he believes that community leaders should do more to promote their people and their work. To help the art world, Marceland sits on the Circle Vision Arts Corporation board. Circle Vision is dedicated to advocacy, promotion and development of Aboriginal art, artists and an art practice in Saskatchewan.
A strong advocate and mentor, Johnny Marceland has inspired and supported many that have followed in his path. Leaders like this, will help merge mainstream opportunities with many capable but underexposed artists.
Links: (click on X in top right corner of outside link to return to photo gallery)