June is Canada’s National Indigenous History Month and Ojibway artist Patrick Hunter is marking this year’s event with the launch of a first time ever collection of artisan canoe paddles.
Patrick Hunter is a 2 Spirit Ojibway artist best known for his paintings in the Woodland Art style who is also making a name for himself in the corporate world through collaborations with big brands.
“There’s an Indigenous story of people, culture and rich history that I’m trying to share with Canadians through my art,” says Hunter as inspiration for his work in this video.
Hunter was approached by Canada Canoe Paddles, a Toronto based company that partners with iconic Canadian brands like the CBC, The Tragically Hip and the Hudson’s Bay Company to create artisanal canoe paddles for display in cottages, cabins, homes and offices.
“It is commonly acknowledged that Canadians are born with a paddle in their hands,” said company founder Mario Zeskoski. Our late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau identified its special role when he noted “paddling a canoe is a source of enrichment and inner renewal.”
The art collaboration will consist of four canoe paddle designs featuring Canadian themes done in Hunter’s Woodland Art style: a hawk, turtle, maple leaf and feather. “When I paint, I look into my subject to not only see its inner composition but also its spiritual side” says Hunter who was inspired by viewing original works of painter Norval Morrisseau in his hometown of Red Lake.
“Working with Patrick on an Indigenous paddle series seemed like the perfect way to showcase his work and provide Canadians with a unique artistic expression of the native lands we all call home” says Zeskoski. The canoe paddle became Hunter’s canvas upon which his art would come to life.
The paddles will be sold as a limited edition series, individually numbered from 1 to 300. “Once they’re sold, they’re gone,” says Zeskoski, “making them a special addition to anyone’s cottage or home whether you’re a paddler, outdoor enthusiast or someone who just appreciates the beauty of Canada’s wilderness as seen through a different lens”.
A portion of the proceeds will go to Hunter’s workshop initiative, where he provides new generations the confidence they need to pick up a paintbrush.
“Seeing how people react to what I create brings me the greatest joy and drives me to continue growing as an artist and a voice for Indigenous culture,” says Hunter. “I look forward to making new acquaintances through my art as I continue on my creative journey”.
The Patrick Hunter Canoe Paddle collection is available now here.