Akawe Dadaakokii | First Steps

Mural Painting workshop with Chief Lady Bird & Aura

October 27-29th 2017

White Water Gallery (122 Main St E)

Youths in our community have something to say about our colonial legacies and improving our ways of living together here on Nipissing territory.  So they have invited two celebrated artists – Chief Lady Bird and Aura – to facilitate the creation of a public mural through conversations and visual arts production.  Young artists, especially from Indigenous communities, are invited to drop-in or linger for this free public mural painting workshop.

The storytelling process with youths – and facilitated by Chief Lady Bird and Aura – will inspire the mural design, reflecting the new generation artists’ distinctive artistic style (combining contemporary and customary practices). The design will be outlined on panels that young artists will paint, and include sections that can be painted by community members at the Gallery Hop in November.  The panels will then be installed in a high-profile location in downtown North Bay.

Akawe Dadaakokii | First Steps will bring community members together to hear Indigenous youths, make downtown more beautiful, and build relationships in the process.   A short video documenting the process will be produced by an emerging Indigenous filmmaker, so that this healing and empowering experience can be shared more widely.

Event:              Public mural painting & storytelling

Dates:              Friday October 27th 2pm-8pm

Saturday October 28th, 11am-6pm

Sunday October 29th, 11am-6pm

Where:            White Water Gallery, 122 Main Street East

Cost:                Free

Nancy King: is a First Nations (Potawatomi and Chippewa) artist from Rama First Nation. Her Anishinaabe name is Ogimaakwebnes, which means Chief Lady Bird. She has completed her BFA in Drawing and Painting with a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University and has been exhibiting her work since she was 14 years old. Through her art practice, she strives to look to the past to help her navigate her Anishinaabe identity whilst living in an urban space as well as advocate for Indigenous representation as an integral aspect of Canada’s national identity. She addresses the complexity of identity through the use of contemporary painting techniques; woodlands style imagery, photography, digital manipulation and traditional Indigenous craft materials and often works with at-risk youth to ensure knowledge and skill sharing/development.

Aura: I am inspired by storytelling and the healing journey, individually and as a community. Currently, I combine painting, drawing, beadwork and collage to examine stories that are connected to the mind, body, and spirit. I aim to address the pain of intergenerational trauma as well as intergenerational healing to communicate experiences from the inside out. By unearthing my own stories, I am able to strengthen connections where the process creates awareness and understanding; this experience is ultimately part of the healing journey. ​

Black Water Arts Collective (BWAC) is driven by and for new generation artists on Nipissing territory. BWAC mounts visual arts projects that tend to be critical of social injustice, and celebrate artists’ capacity to create worlds otherwise.  We mounted a public mural on the Cheapskates wall downtown this summer celebrating diversity, and we host a regular poetry slam that has become a popular community event.

Click the link below to view the video documentation of the process:












This project has been made possible by funding from the Ontario Arts Council’s Artists in Communities program.




It has also been made possible with the generous support of our community partners including: