WILD PIGMENT PROJECT
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ANONG MIGWANS BEAM paintmaker

Hand-rolled ‘paintstones’ from Beam Paints. Photo courtesy of Anong Migwans Beam.

Hand-rolled ‘paintstones’ from Beam Paints. Photo courtesy of Anong Migwans Beam.

ANONG MIGWANS BEAM

ANONG MIGWANS BEAM is a painter, mother, paintmaker, curator living and working in her home community of Mchigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. She has always loved the colours pink and green more than anyone should, she collects art, makes art, and is generally obsessed with all aspects therein. Currently preparing for an exhibition of her oil on canvas work “history of painting “at the John B. Aird Gallery Toronto.

Anong writes beautifully about color and her lifelong history of foraging and making paint with her artist-parents. Here are a couple excerpts from an article she wrote for SNAP (Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists):

I learned to collect pigment with my father in the La Cloche mountain range close to home. He taught me how our ancestors made paint to make “mizzins” designs on rockface with hematite to share their histories, proud moments, and cautions. Now in my adult life I have returned to this practice with children of my own, experiencing making paint and colour with them. I have given myself the authority of my experience, and as a paintmaker I have decided to name all my colours in my own language. The act of paintmaking has continued to be a powerful shamanic act for myself as I learned it from my father, and now as I share it with other artists. Giving names to the colours is claiming an experience of the world, saying that it is not just the purview of European colour men and that tradition but also my own, which includes them and encompasses more, giving back to all creative people an experience of colour that grounds them in this land and all the stories it holds. 

As an indigenous woman, who does make paint from nearby sources of colour, I also make paint from pigments not native to this land, and there is always a pause after I state that as a fact, as if people wish they could unhear it, and stay in their imaginings that I have found lost caverns of ultramarine and neons under my island home. Through my own lens of experience, I feel no awkward tension. I approach making and naming and using paint as an indigenous woman, a mother, a daughter, a lover of Walt Whitman, a painter, human, all these things. As I drive around in the summer with my boys, and a car with rock hammers and buckets, we jump out at rockcuts, explore gravel pits and the edges of construction. I am happy in a silly joyful way. 

Read the whole article, here.

www.beampaints.myshopify.com

Anong’s dad processes earth pigments on the hood of the family stationwagon, circa 1970s.  Photo courtesy of Anong Migwans Beam.

Anong’s dad processes earth pigments on the hood of the family stationwagon, circa 1970s. Photo courtesy of Anong Migwans Beam.

The young Anong and her parents.  Photo courtesy of Anong Migwans Beam.

The young Anong and her parents. Photo courtesy of Anong Migwans Beam.