Lindsay Delaronde always felt like she was born to be an artist.
Growing up on the Kahnawake reservation in Quebec, Delaronde interpreted her own life experiences through art and itbecame a way for her to understand her relationships to her family, community and the world. Deep in her heart, she knewshe always wanted to create art.
“Art is a great space and has the potential and possibility to activate our whole beings rather than just tapping into certainplaces or ways of how we receive and give information,” she said. “The arts is the limitless possibilities of understandingand learning from one another.”
Fast forward several years and Delaronde has been named the City of Victoria’s first indigenous artist in residence — aposition she was thrilled to be selected for.
The indigenous artist in residence is tasked with working with the community and city staff to produce a range of artisticworks, which could include an exhibition, performance, publication or forum. There will also be an opportunity to createcollaborative artwork with the city’s artist in residence Luke Ramsey.
Delaronde has been preparing for a career in the arts for years. She earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at the Emily CarrInstitute of Art and Design, followed by a master of fine arts degree from the University of Victoria. She has sincetransformed into a multi-disciplinary visual artist, working in print-making, painting, drawing, video and performance.
She has also been a strong advocate for indigenous voices, stories, culture and history. In 2009 she completed the WarCanoe Paddle Project, which features current and archival photo transfers onto cedar paddles. Her most recently exhibition,In Defiance at the Legacy art gallery downtown, supports the voices of indigenous women on Vancouver Island and themainland. She also co-illustrated an indigenous children’s book called The Corn Chief.
Now, as the city’s indigenous artist in residence, Delarone is excited to help people realize their own relationship to artworkover the year-long program.
“Everyone can stop and take a look at how art has helped them in their lives or how creativity has help someone throughsomething or see something differently or be inspired by art. We all have these experiences so one thing that’s important isreally helping people to personalize their own relationship to artwork and artwork in the city and what that means,” shesaid, adding she’s grateful for the Coast Salish artists and others on the Island, from which she learned how to become anartist on the West Coast.
“My goal and my purpose for the residency is really to pave the way for young emerging indigenous artists and youth, andhelping them to understand that anything is possible.”
The indigenous artist in residence program was established as part of the 2017: A Year of Reconciliation and is fundedthrough the city’s art in public places reserve fund. Delaronde will work 20 hours a week until March 2018 and will receive$42,000.
“It’s with hopes that Victoria will embrace our First Nations artist Lindsay with a warm embrace as she opens the minds andhearts as we all seek answers around reconciliation and what a First Nations artist can bring in terms of engagement for ourcity,” said Rande Cook with the city’s arts and public place committee in a release.