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Art: A Way To Cope With Peer Pressure

Darren Deschambeault

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      WINTER 1999/2000      v30 n01 p25  
This issue features youth artist Darren Sugar. Sugar, age 16, is a member of the Piapot First Nation who currently attends high school in Prince Albert. The drawing on this edition of Saskatchewan Indian was one that Sugar submitted for a contest held about a year ago for the Youth Futures Program in Prince Albert. It was selected to be the official logo for the program.

Sugar says that the logo represents the Earth, sun, spirit, skies, birds and youth. It was designed with youth in mind. "I see youth continuing on their path in life. Also not to give up hope," he says.

For Sugar, art has provided an outlet for coping with peer pressure. "Some youth follow a path of destruction with their problems and there is no one out there to help them. There are many ways that the youth can deal with their problems, for example through sport and art. Art can touch the hurt inside an individual. Depending on the person, maybe they can play music to forget their problems. Or many youths use dancing powwow as a good way in getting in touch with their culture," he says.

This up and coming young artist began his artistic efforts at a young age. "I was a very creative child with many happy thoughts," he remembers. "Once I tried it [drawing] out, I put all my imagination on the pictures," comments Sugar on his beginnings.

And while his natural creativity got him started in art, it is his cultural background that drives his work now. "The Indian culture is what got me interested in my art work," he explains. "Culture is so important for the youth. I sometimes go to sweats, when I'm invited."

At such a young age, Sugar looks to other, more experienced artists for guidance. He is fascinated with the works of many different First Nation painters. Their dedication and talent has motivated him. "My inspiration's to become an artist," say Sugar. A career in painting is his ultimate goal.

For more information about Darren Sugar or the Youth Futures Program, contact the Youth Futures Program in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan at #21-11th Street East, or phone their main office at (306) 953-4770 or toll free at 1-888-275-9372