Peatr Thomas, Artist – Winnipeg
Peatr Thomas is a Swampy Cree/Ojibwe, self-taught, interdisciplinary artist from the Pimicikamak Cree nation. Like many Indigenous Millennials, he is a first generation by-product of Canada’s Residential Schools and experienced the recycled trauma that they form. Art, culture, and tradition are practices that help him cope and continue to work on healing. A full-time artist since the fall of 2015, he had a collaborative floor mural with Mike Valcourt and Kenneth Lavallee in the Winnipeg Art Gallery for their Boarder X exhibition in 2016, he won the 2019 Manito Ahbee 48-Hour Film Challenge with Skate Break, and created a 1600 square foot mural for Synonym Art Consultation’s 2019 Wall-to-Wall Mural Festival. He has also done countless art programs with youth across Canada, sharing his artistic skills, life experiences, and culture. Skate Break is included in the Video Pool Media Arts Centre’s Showing Initiatives II screening program curated by Jenny Western. It can be viewed online until April 19.
- Sidewalk Surfing
Through my surroundings and exposure to the city life after moving to Winnipeg for high school in 2001, skateboarding stood out for me because it was unique, incredibly challenging, and I could do it alone, or with some newfound friends. It taught me a lot about myself, about patience, persistence, discipline, healing. It taught me a lot more than any person did in those early years of skateboarding. It’s my escape from reality, but is also as real as it gets.
- Bloodvein River pictographs
This river is home to my mother’s reserve and the largest collection of pictographs in the world. First seeing them as a young boy, I remember thinking: who did this, what does it mean, and why? I now know they were at least three hundred years old before they were “discovered.” To this day no one knows what they really mean. That knowledge is lost with colonization. I stare at them regularly to try to understand their lines and styles of marking. I recently included some of those designs in an installation for Dee Barsy’s Storytellers exhibition at The Edge Gallery in Winnipeg.
- Painting with plastic on glass
Recently I purchased an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Experimenting with Pro Create has been a learning curve to draw digitally. After nineteen years of experience with vector art, this is new and kind of challenging.
- Modern pictographs
I first started noticing street art when we moved to the city; the thoughts were very much the same as when I first saw Bloodvein River’s pictographs. These unknown people are using aliases to create free art. To me that’s true passion for the sake of creating art. Paying attention to certain street artists’ works, you can learn a lot about a person, without ever knowing their sex, age, or race.
I’ve loved bike riding since I got my first with no training wheels at five years old. I tried to do a jump and broke my arm that same summer. Today I ride to keep my previously torn ACL strong and to get from A to B. Trails and rides with friends are times I’ll cherish forever.