Jackie Traverse launches colouring book honouring Indigenous women
Maggie Wysocki, CONTRIBUTOR
Some claim it’s the best way to relieve stress while others use it as an escape from swiping and texting. Colouring books are flying off bookstore shelves, but Indigenous artist Jackie Traverse hopes her colouring book – Sacred Feminine – will do more than just relax readers.
“I want it to build strength in our young girls and show them who we are and where we come from,” said Traverse at the launch of her colouring book.
Over 50 Winnipeggers gathered at Neechi Commons on Nov. 3 to bring the pages of Sacred Feminine to colour while snacking on bannock and tea. The launch began with a prayer to honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) before Traverse took the stage.
“The colouring book is for first and foremost my daughters, and then the families of MMIW and women in corrections because I am all of these things and I’ll never forget where I came from,” Traverse told the crowd.
Traverse said the idea came to her a year and a half ago when she noticed that women and youth weren’t being represented enough in Indigenous art.
“So much Indigenous art is by men, and I wanted to represent womanhood,” she said.
Traverse experienced first-hand the difficulties for the aboriginal community in Manitoba, she said.
“As a kid in foster care it was hard to relate. I noticed that my people weren’t in cartoons or comic books, and if we were it was to shame us or represent us in a negative way,” said Traverse.
Ukrainian native Marlene Marion coloured at the launch with her 10-year-old granddaughter Gracie Aprile.
“I heard Jackie give a talk a few months ago and I wanted to show my granddaughter the art of a strong woman,” said Marion. “She is my favourite Winnipeg artist.”
Traverse said she wanted to be an artist since she was a young girl, but it wasn’t until adulthood that her life allowed her to follow those passions. “After going through some hard stuff, I got into fine arts at the U of M when I was 33,” said Traverse, now 48.
For the past 10 years Traverse said she’s been living off her work as a “mixed-media” artist and hopes that all forms of Indigenous art can eventually be respected in the same way.
Traverse recently moved into an art studio on Arthur Street where she hopes to host workshops for those who want to learn more about Indigenous art.
Traverse’s art can be found online under the name Creative Native.