You are here
Home > Arts & Culture > Blockades bring out emotion through art

Blockades bring out emotion through art

 (Courtesy Kaiente:ri McGregor)

Kaiente:ri Tyra McGregor has a deep love and appreciation for Frida Kahlo, often drawing in similar cartoon-like fashion, emulating one of the most famous Indigenous artists in the world, whose popularity continues to rise long after her death.

Although she said she doesn’t draw old school selfies of her own image, her family and other observers often remark how uncanny a resemblance her art is to her looking in the actual mirror.

“I’m not the greatest with articulating my words into meaningful full sentences so I pour my emotions into my art and hope to explain it that way,” McGregor told The Eastern Door recently, after her latest creation, about the blockades, was put on Facebook.

The local teen is using her amazing talent to express herself in the ongoing issue, where community members have set up at Adirondack Junction to raise awareness of the pipeline fight in Wet’suwet’en, BC, which was erected after Tyendinaga was attacked by the Ontario Provincial Police for their own rail blockade.

“I happened to draw that while I was really upset with our situation and how the world works for the Native youth,” she said.

“Everything happening with our people, especially our youth; the hurt our communities feel, the persistent never-ending trauma. Our youth stand for peace and we shall prevail for future generations and many more to come!” she said.

Art, as those who have the drive and talent to do it will attest, is a form of healing. It is also a way to express without having to stand on a pedestal and shout out your thoughts.

“I have excess stress and anxiety that when I delve into artworks it drifts away and I finally feel at ease, a coping mechanism if you will,” she said. “If I can’t explain how I feel, hopefully my art conveys it.”

McGregor is conscious of how people see her in what she creates, but she never sets out to do self-portraits.

“Never at all! My family always says this when I finish a project,” she said. “My mother recently said it was a quirk, not to say I’m anything like the magnificent Frida Kahlo, but she frequently painted herself because she knows her self best and my mom said this may be the same thing I subconsciously do.”

Her ista Colleen Wahienhá:wi Brown-McGregor knows her daughter best, of course, and she said while drawing or painting, or creating art in whatever way; “Her best self comes through, her confidence and passion for life.”

The paintings on the family’s wall at home start from six years ago, when Kaiente:ri was 13.

“I am very proud of her,” said Wahienhá:wi. “Tyra has had her own trials in life and it has been truly a healing tool. She is at her most creative (while painting). It is a true expression. I have seen how comforting and relaxing it is for her.”

The burgeoning artist will often gift her creations to her family, a way to spread her art, but also to express herself when words escape her.

“I came home from work, she said ‘mom I have been thinking a lot about what is happening amongst Onkwehón:we.’” said Wahienhá:wi. 

“When she showed me this piece, I was filled with so many emotions. She has always shown her passion for life in her illustrations.” 

So how does the self-taught artist she set out to create such beautiful work with no formal training? 

“I don’t usually have a set plan in mind,” she said. “When I feel in a funk, I start off with a doodle, then it shapes into a being or representation of what I feel.”

In terms of the blockade piece, it was Kaiente:ri’s way of adding her important voice to the mix.

“I’ve gotten a few shares, which is cool. I just wanted to contribute to the situation somehow to raise awareness, if it wasn’t so prominent already,” she said.

“Our youth are conscious and we have our ancestors with us. We shall rise!”

[email protected]

With rising printing costs, overhead and inflation, community newspapers like The Eastern Door are finding it increasingly more difficult to keep afloat. But here’s a way you can help: 
Please consider a financial contribution to help us keep doing what we do best; telling the stories of our people in a contemporary medium – a solid archive of our cherished history. Your kind donation will go towards a paper that stands as equal parts historical record, in-depth, informative and award-winning news, colourful stories, as well as a big boost to the local economy by employing 95 percent local workers. Also, please consider subscribing to our e-edition, which comes out Thursday night, at www.easterndoor.com today, or pick up your copy Friday morning in Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Akwesasne or Chateauguay.
We exercise real freedom of the press every single day. Without our reporters fighting for the truth our community would be missing something. E-transfers are accepted at: [email protected]
+ posts

Eastern Door Editor/Publisher Steve Bonspiel started his journalism career in January 2003 with The Nation magazine, a newspaper serving the Cree of northern Quebec.
Since that time, he has won numerous regional and national awards for his in-depth, impassioned writing on a wide variety of subjects, including investigative pieces, features, editorials, columns, sports, human interest and hard news.
He has freelanced for the Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, Windspeaker, Nunatsiaq News, Calgary Herald, Native Peoples Magazine, and other publications.
Among Steve's many awards is the Paul Dumont-Frenette Award for journalist of the year with the Quebec Community Newspapers Association in 2015, and a back-to-back win in 2010/11 in the Canadian Association of Journalists' community category - one of which also garnered TED a short-list selection of the prestigious Michener award.
He was also Quebec Community Newspapers Association president from 2012 to 2019, and continues to strive to build bridges between Native and non-Native communities for a better understanding of each other.

Top

Dear Readers:

As an essential service that is still open during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Eastern Door is fighting hard to keep news like this flowing, in our print product, though an online subscription at www.eastermdoor.com and here, for free, on our website and Facebook.

But when a large portion of our regular revenue has disappeared due to so many other businesses being closed, our circulation being affected by the same issue, and all of our specials canceled until the end of the year, we are looking for alternative ways to keep operations going, staff paid, and the paper out every Friday for you to enjoy.

Please consider a financial contribution to help us keep doing what we do best; telling the stories of our people in a contemporary medium – a solid, continuing archive that documents our cherished, shared history. Your kind donation will go to a newspaper that stands as the historical record, in-depth, informative and award-winning news; colourful stories, and a big boost to the local economy by employing 95 percent local workers.

Also, please consider subscribing to our e-edition, which comes out Thursday night, at www.easterndoor.com today, or pick up your copy Friday morning in Kahnawake, Kanesatake or Chateauguay. Akwesasne delivery has been suspended due to the pandemic and border issues.

We exercise real freedom of the press every single day. Without our reporters fighting for the truth our community would be missing a whole lot of facts, separated from gossip and rumors.

E-transfers are accepted and very much appreciated at: [email protected]

Maintained By WordPress Website Support