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.
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.
For me art is a spiritual expression and a celebration of my Metis heritage. My two dimensional work is intended to be multisensory, tactile, and many times the paint is applied with my own fingers in order to help me connect on a deeper physical level with the creative process. I often use other tools that help add dimension and depth to my art so they become textured to the touch. My paintings are intended to be very visually stimulating with bright colours and the application of shiny paints and found objects. In my paintings there is childlike playfulness with light, colour value, texture, and movement. This is accomplished by colour choice and beadwork, and composition to create movement within stillness. I enjoy illustrating children’s books because they make me feel happy and free.
It is important for me to incorporate elements of Indigenous beadwork to honour my First Nations and Metis women ancestors and the traditional arts. I honour the traditional art forms of my women ancestors, but I bring them into a contemporary form. Sometimes my paintings will dance for me because they have been designed to have movement and flow. I always find that balance and harmony are key foundations for my work. Teachings of the sacred circle and medicine wheel are central elements in the design and symbolism of all my paintings. My paintings show the great interrelatedness of all things in creation and I have been influenced by the pre-contact and more contemporary traditional arts.
In my work there is a great representation of the four elements of life, earth, air, fire and water. In my opinion The Earth Mother is the greatest giver of life. For generations women have turned to the Earth Mother for regeneration, resilience, and rebirth. She sustains many life forms and gives her love and gifts unconditionally to humanity. Earth Mother works in harmony with the elements of water, fire, and air to ensure the continuity of life. Indigenous peoples of the world have a great reverence for the healing powers of Earth Mother. This collection of paintings celebrates humanity’s spiritual connection to the land. The ancient symbols of the turtle and mother serpent represent the sacred feminine powers associated with the Earth. Where possible some of the paintings incorporate natural materials such as birch bark, river rock, and coppers.
My artistic practice is themed around the healing and healthy representation of Aboriginal women’s knowledge, teachings, and spirituality. I love representing Aboriginal women in the most beautiful and wholesome manner as possible as they are considered the first teachers and givers of life in our cultural teachings.