Leah Marie Dorion is an interdisciplinary Metis artist raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. A teacher, painter, filmmaker and published writer, Leah views her Metis heritage as providing her with a unique bridge for knowledge between all people. Leah holds a Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Arts, and Master of Arts degree. She has numerous creative projects to her credit, including academic papers for the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples, books for children, gallery showings of her art works, and numerous video documentaries that showcase Metis culture and history. Leah’s paintings honour the spiritual strength of Aboriginal women and the sacred feminine. Leah believes that women play a key role in passing on vital knowledge for all of humanity which is deeply reflected in her artistic practice. She believes women are the first teachers to the next generation.
Leah is currently working on:
I believe our current educational system as a whole requires major reconstruction in order to meet the needs of First Nations and Metis children along with their families. We need to apply a healing plan model and implement a culturally appropriate educational system to make meaningful learning occur. Education is a part of a larger social web and it seems like it is one of slowest institutions to adapt to changing realities. Aboriginal people have so much to offer the educational renewal conversation. Although our collective history is full of traumas, betrayals, and injustices we have survived, now, we need to contemplate ways to thrive once again by reflecting upon our core principles of traditional learning and how these core teachings relate to or directly conflict with our current colonial educational models we have inherited.
-Leah Marie Dorion, Metis Educator and Artist
North Saskatchewan River
Eight Career Highlights
Awarded an Art Commission with the Society of Canadian Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) for the art work Givers of Life featured on a poster for their international women’s health division.
The selection of my art work Circles of Care for the Aboriginal Storytelling month (February) poster produced by Library Services for Saskatchewan Aboriginal Peoples (LLSAP).
Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa created a massive stage backdrop featuring the design from my art work Wahkotowin at their gala fundraiser.
Hugh Cairns School in Saskatoon received an ArtsSmarts grant to make an art mural project based on The Giving Tree story. It was my first experience working with over 260 students and staff who all contributed to the design and completion of the final mural.
Workshop presenter at the Literacy for Life conference hosted by the Saskatoon Public School Division during the same year Justin Trudeau was the keynote speaker.
Awarded an arts grant through the Saskatchewan Arts Board to restore the Metis voyageur lobstick pole art form back into our community.
My art work The Three Life Sustainers was purchased by the Saskatchewan Arts Board Provincial Art Collection.
The Allan Sapp Gallery in North Battleford accepted several illustrations from The Giving Tree and Relatives with Roots children’s books into their permanent collection. The gallery curated the illustrations and then proceeded to host an art show in which local school children got to view the original art works.
I have the heart of a storyteller and will use various forms of artistic expression to share stories. For me, art is a spiritual expression and my paintings are influenced by traditional cultural teachings such as the medicine wheel and the sacred circle of life. I find that balance and harmony along with the four sacred elements of life (earth, air, fire, and water) are foundational aspects of my work. My paintings show the great interrelatedness of all things in creation. My paintings are tactile, and I often use various mediums that help add dimension and depth to my art, such as beads, birch bark, river rock, and shells. It is important for me to incorporate elements of Indigenous beadwork to honour my First Nations and Metis women ancestors, but I bring them into a contemporary form.
“Art with Purpose”
“Art with Intention”
“Create the world you want to live in”
“Passing knowledge forward through the generations”
Discover, Explore, Express
Freedom, Fun, Flow
Imagination, Inquiry, Inventiveness
Joy, Playfulness, Purpose
Ten Creativity Principles
- Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy; pure creative energy.
- There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life-including ourselves.
- When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives.
- We are, ourselves, creations, and we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
- Creativity is the Great Spirit’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to the great creator.
- The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.
- When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to the great spirit of the universe.
- As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
- It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.
- Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward divinity.
-Adapted from the Artist’s Way
|Creativity is a powerful way to celebrate who we are. It is a spiritual energy that nourishes our vitality. It is a way to replace negative thinking with positive action. Every one of us is brimming with imagination, but it often takes practice to find it and put it to use. Yet anything we do in a new way can be creative - building a bookcase, trying a new seasoning on a vegetable, taking a new approach to handling finances, finger painting, problem-solving, tapping out a rhythm on a table top. Creative energy is within us and all around us, whether we are writing a masterpiece, or folding the laundry. Every original act asserts our commitment to living. When we create, we plant ourselves firmly in the moment and teach ourselves that what we do matters. -Anonymous|