Me Artsy by Drew Hayden Taylor
While First Nations cultural practice still honours traditional forms, contemporary indigenous artists have diversified into many areas. The fourteen contributors whose essays make up Me Artsy pursue such varied disciplines as filmmaking, gourmet cuisine, blues piano, fashion design, acting, writing and painting as well as traditional drumming and storytelling. Their concerns include the eternal ones that occupy artists everywhere—how does one get started, where do you find inspiration, how does one make a living. What makes Me Artsy special is that all these concerns are always overlaid with an awareness of First Nations identity.
The essays explore many common themes around the role of art in First Nations communities, including the importance of art for creating social change, the role of art in representing Native culture and the fusion of traditional and contemporary techniques. On a more personal level, the essays describe the significance of art in the lives of the contributors, along with their sometimes unlikely journeys to success, stories that are often touched with humour and humility.
Chef David Wolfman describes gruelling years in the kitchens of the exclusive National Club; filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk discusses leaping into his first feature film without knowing how to finance it; and playwright Drew Hayden Taylor tells the story of putting a bullet through his first play and burying it in his yard.
Other contributors include actor/playwright Monique Mojica, painter Marianne Nicolson, fashion designer Kim Picard, painter Maxine Noel, blues pianist Murray Porter, scholar Karyn Recollet, dancer/choreographer Santee Smith, director/actor Rose Stella, traditional drummer Steve Teekens, writer and storyteller Richard Van Camp and manga artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas.