Kim Stewart

Canadian Métis Artist

my opinions

Cowboys & Indians Research Project: 1920's silent film,"Daughter of Dawn"

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Indians on horseback
Indians on horseback

Reposted from Art4life Wordpress blog:

As part of my ongoing research into cowboy and indian pop culture for my Canada Council Grant, I watched this show with great interest. It had an all Native cast along with some amazingly well trained horses. I was very impressed with the riding - especially the scene where they do the buffalo chase on horseback with each rider using only a blanket and a 'thong' bit made from braided leather or deer hide for tack.

I paid particular attention to the clothing and personal objects. Although it seemed to me that there were a lot of headdresses in each scene, there were also interesting pipes, spears and tomahawks that appeared to be authentic. In one scene where 'Red Wing' enters her teepee to cry there is an amazing backrest partially covered in buffalo hide. According to Wikipedia - each actor wore their own clothes and brought their own belongings, including tepees.

For a time this movie was only rumoured to exist until it surfaced via a private investigator who had been paid for a job with the film. The US National Film Registry has since designated 'Daughter of Dawn' as historically significant and you can now watch the restored film on Netflix.

Beginning a New Work

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This spring I received a Canada Council grant to research (and create) a new body of work. I am using my art practice to look into how much 1950's - '70's Cowboy and Indian pop culture has shaped my idea of myself as a Métis person. I expect this project to be as much fun as it is revealing. I have begun recreating some of the lifestyle I had as a kid which centred around horses. The idea is to immerse myself in the stereotype as I imagined it to be and create art from that position.

This is Monday, the horse I have chosen to be my companion through this research.In the second photo we are working in the round pen. I want Monday to accept me as the leader of our 'herd of two' and the round pen helps with that.

I will be posting regular updates on our progress and the art that comes from my work with Monday.

Mother/Daughter project from the 1970's

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A happy memory that really stands out for me as a teen was a project that my mom and I worked on together. We decided to create a parade costume for my horse. That project expanded into 2 parade costumes and many, many nights of hard work. I loved riding with the costumes and the horse enjoyed it too. However, every year she had a young foal so you can see in these photos that she was often looking off in the distance, trying to get a glimpse of her baby. Now that I have horses again, I think about the possibility of making another costume and, perhaps, my daughter would like to be a part of that too. Rialla and horse costume

Horse and rider in costume

Kim and Rialla with 1st costume

Kim and Rialla in Parade with first costume

Who doesn't love a birthday!

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It is my nephew's birthday today! He is a gregarious 6 year old guy with playful eyes and a head full of ideas.  He has an equally awesome older brother. It would appear that they put as much work into their creativity as they do into wrestling with each other. Good to see that they are not too wrapped up in popular media to see the world around them and represent it in their art. There is something so wholesome about kid art. matt

Birthday boy, Matthew's drawing of a warbler


Older brother, Cameron's representation of a flower

matt n cam


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I have been reading about tessellations (think art by M.C. Escher). They fascinate me! I found a book in the thrift store on designing tessellations and brought it home for the modest amount of $3. I am also fond of William Morris organic pattern designs. I imagined the meeting of these two and this was the result: Kim's hybrid tessellation

Perfectly suitable for creating a vector illustration! I have drawn this in Adobe Illustrator and am now in the process of finding a use for the variations I created. I will keep you posted.

of light and subject

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I wish I could walk around with my camera attached to me at all times. I see so many opportunities where the light weaves it's way around subjects bringing out the colours and textures in such a delicious way. I added a bit of post production in Photoshop to set the mood. kitty milk filter kitty milk sleep kitty on bed looking milk kitty on bed milk kittystretch milk


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Here is a photo of my artwork hanging in the UNBC Rotunda Gallery. It's a digitally woven blanket with beadwork applied on the letters and some of the shapes and forms. I used a photo of 'Mrs. Gullion' (Athabasca Archives) and placed her within my own drawings. The text running along side her on the left is from a scan of the original Metis land scrip document issued to George and Margareta Gullion for their son, Franklin Gullion (my great grandfather). It says, "was the woman half-breed, indian or other? ....Halfbreed." I could go on about the derogatory meaning that is now attached to the label 'halfbreed' but in 1900 that was how Metis people were referred to. There is an excellent essay on the subject at this link: It describes the process by which using land scrip Metis people were stripped of their aboriginal title to a traditional land base.

I think the blanket looks amazing between the wooden lamps. Thank you to the group who put together the show for the Aboriginal Women's Honouring at UNBC.

Visual musings from my studio

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Sometimes it is difficult to know what to create. I can sit in my studio and look around with no game plan. For me it doesn't matter what medium or subject, it is simply important to begin. These are two drawings that came out of a session like that. I had scraps of deer hide left over from another piece so I began working on them. I love ravens and they occasionally show up in my art.

The importance of memory

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Pine Pass, BC December is a heavy month for me. Not only does it hold beloved family traditions, it holds the memories of the passing of both my parents. Every year as the snow falls and neighbours hang their seasonal decor, a feeling comes over me. It is almost unnoticed at first, a gentle melancholy, then a yearning. Images from a season past enter my mind, a time when relatives had come out to the farm to celebrate, sliding their cars into deep snowy ditches on their way out. The house was warm, the oven pumping out delicious smells in waves of heat. Windows were steamy from too many people talking all at once and laughter tickled the ears. Today, my house is silent. Everyone has gone in their own direction and I am left with these thoughts. I never knew I could long to hear my father's voice so much. Just to hear him laugh again; see his face light up in humour. It has been 19 years.

This year, I think about my mom as well. She often put great effort into decorating our home. She would paint mirrors and windows, hang beautiful homemade decorations, and place candles around. Talking was her favourite holiday activity. As a child it bored me, but there was comfort in the drone of constant conversation. My last Christmas with her was several years ago. My husband, kids and I made the 5 hour drive through the Pine Pass. Even though she was in constant pain, her house looked lovely. There was a lot of conversation and laughter and I believe my kids were both bored and comforted by it. Mom passed away last year, within days of the anniversary of Dad's passing.

Today, my house is quiet. In my mind I hear the holidays of the past and as plan ahead, I am conscious of the importance that holidays remembered will hold for my kids in the future.  (photo by me, Kim (Gullion) Stewart.)

When less was more

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My son, now 18 attends the same college that I work at. We carpool and today we will be here longer than expected; over the lunch hour. I sent him a text asking if he wanted some money for food, "Yes!!!" was his reply. After I paid for his burger and fries, a modest $9 CAD...I thought about a time when my Dad had treated me and my friends to a donut during school hours. In high school we had a great hangout. It was the local bakery. If you were planning to miss a class, at some point you'd end up there. That's what had happened the one and only day I ever skipped class. My parents who lived 25 kms out of town just happened to show up at the bakery for coffee. As they sat down my Dad's eyes met mine. I could feel my face flush...he was a scary guy when he got mad. He walked over and asked me what class I was supposed to be in, "Record keeping" I said. He asked me what my mark was, "an A" I said. He pulled out a $5 billed and said, "This is for you and your friends to pay for your donuts, don't ever do this again." I was surprised and greatful. The $5 paid for 3 donuts and 2 coffees, and I never did that again.

New Digital Piece

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Top DogI've been messing around in Photoshop again. Practicing composition skills, using colour and shape to direct the viewer's eye, combining my traditional sketches with photos I've taken. I've gone the abstract route for my subject, preferring to evoke a mood or feeling along with a narrative or story-like image, rather than creating something representational.