“Sometimes you do have to blindly take a chance. And light that match and burn that fuckin’ bridge. And just keep walking and trust your intuition.”
Hey, welcome back. I’m really excited to share this interview with you. I learned so much in researching and preparing for it and even more during the conversation. In episode 5 of the Ewen Lewis Podcast Right Turns Project I had the unique opportunity to sit down and speak with Arthur Renwick, the celebrated and renowned indigenous visual artist and musician hailing from the west coast of Canada but residing in Toronto, Ontario. Arthur’s story is one more of reinvention than transformation, which can be just as daunting.
The love child of a Scottish father and Haisla mother, he spent much of his youth refining his identity while spending time in Kitimaat Village, home to the Haisla First Nations people, and in Kitimat town, built and supported mainly by Alcan, the aluminum smelting company. With a bright talent for drawing and visual art, he ventured out of that remote area of British Columbia to attend school firstly in the big city of Vancouver and then in Montréal. It was here that his participation in the Oka Crisis, the 1990 standoff between Mohawk protesters and the Canadian police and army, forged a pointed direction with his photography to work towards giving a voice back to indigenous peoples.
In this interview we go into detailed stories behind some of his most well known visual art and explore the reinventions of himself in artistic expression and in his career. When I first knew we were going to meet at the Inter Steer Restaurant in the bustling community of Roncesvalles Village in Toronto, I was a little concerned that it might get too noisy. However, it was really amazing to see how many people waved at Arthur from outside as we sat talking at the booth near the front window of the cozy, wood lined establishment. You’ll even hear how one gentleman came in just to say hello to him. It was a real testament to Arthur’s warm, open personality and big heart.
So grab a cup of tea or coffee, settle in and enjoy this insightful conversation with Arthur Renwick. See you on the other side!
Links & Notes
Find Arthur Renwick on:
Selected pieces from the Mask series.
Selected pieces from Delegates: Chiefs of the Earth & Sky
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami