Douglas hosts Indigenous Artisans Fair
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
The Indigenous Artisans Fair was held in the Douglas College New Westminster concourse on November 20. The fair showcased a variety of works by Indigenous artists, some of which were on sale, while other works were simply for presentation.
A tent set up in the middle by the Douglas Students’ Union contained a quaint little area to sit and paint your own Indigenous-inspired artwork. The canvases were provided by the DSU. I saw some very beautiful art in the works, featuring beachy sunsets, created by students waiting for their next class.
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Melanie Point, an artisan selling her own array of Indigenous works. She is from the Point family of the Musqueam band. Her aunt, Susan Point, has her welcome figure in the Aboriginal Gathering place on the fourth floor of the New West Douglas campus.
Melanie Point is a Coast Salish artist selling many different items, created by her as well as by her friends, family, and artists from around BC whom Point has collaborated with.
She had on display children’s books that she wrote, as well as what she described as “colouring journals which are interactive with reflective questions used in high schools and in Vancouver Coastal Health programs.” The journals are typically used by adults. Animals on the Salish Sea is a book that goes with children’s flashcards.
Point had blankets on the end of her table of items, some of which were black with adorning red designs.
“I also designed the blanket on the end of the table, which I call diversity, because I believe we are changers in the world. Art is storytelling,” said Point.
One beautiful category of items for sale as a collaboration between Point and her friends was her healing bracelets. The bracelets are made with natural precious stones as well as lava beads. Diffused essential oils are used in the creation of these bracelets to provide them with different meanings. The colours popped out to me; gorgeous baby blues and violets, paired with the marble look of the stones, made the bracelets give off a very calming aura.
Other vendors had their own unique items on display, such as carved wood. Artisans exhibited squares of carved wood for printmaking as well as designs carved into wooden heels. There were also many different paintings on display, featuring blues, reds, and black paint designs on canvases as well as on glass and other mediums.