Twice this summer, Fraserville resident Sherry Crawford has teamed up with Don Winslow, a member of the congregation of St. John’s Ida church to host a COVID-friendly art show offering an impressive display of indigenous works at the church. Sherry is originally from Bancroft and is a member of the Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin Nation. Many of the works on display were intended to be featured in an exhibit in April which was cancelled, so she decided to launch shows of her own closer to home.
At the June 20th event, visitors were treated to a “drive-thru” exhibit, circling the perimeter of the church parking lot where forty of her paintings were on display. It was just a warm up.
In July, the show extended to include a variety of works from a several Indigenous artists that are all part of her own collection. Most of the pieces were on display inside the church hall to allow the show to proceed rain or shine. Among them were stone sculptures from Inuk artist Floyd Kuptana, beadwork from Gordon Six Pipes and pieces from the late Curve Lake artist Norman Knott. There was also a copy of a piece by Norval Morrisseau entitled “The Shaman Teaching his Two Halves in the Dream State” His work appears in the National Gallery of Canada.
Sherry has created works using all kinds of media, including ink, oil, pastel, pencil and acrylic. Her subjects are equally diverse, including landscapes, portraits and but the underlying theme of spirituality and healing based on traditional indigenous teachings is ever present.
Through her social work studies at First Nations Technical Institute in the Tyendenaga Mohawk Territory near Shannonville, she acquired a deep understanding of traditional indigenous philosophy reflected in the Seven Grandfather teachings of love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth. Her images contain messages of holistic health in which people seek to establish a balance and harmony with nature.
For a brief period in 2014, Sherry owned and operated Crawford Fine Art on King St. in Millbrook, but the venture closed after a year due to family medical issues. The gallery gave her experience and exposure to many artists and art enthusiasts.
As an advocate for Indigenous rights, the current Black Lives Matter movement resonates with Sherry and she hopes the message in her art offers hope, healing and a deeper understanding of how we are all connected. It is a particularly appropriate message at this time, and she hopes the recent pause precipitated by the pandemic has allowed people to re-establish priorities that reflect a greater respect for each other and the environment that nourishes us and gives us life.
To learn more about Crawford and view her work, visit www.jamesfineartcollection.com. KG