Daniel Elliott – Artist Statement
My journey in traditional fine arts training has led to the serendipitous reawakening of my Indigenous identity and re-connection with my ancestral lineage. In this awareness I have come to know Liminal space as an exportation where all transformation takes place, and where I have learned to wait and let it form me.
Early in my formative years, I received a set of oil paints from my mother stimulating my lifelong love and passion for the arts. She was a talented artist in her own right. A year later my work was exhibited at the Vancouver Island Exhibition winning top prize and best of show. This was noticed by Michael B. Gergley an internationally known artist who was a professor in the watercolour department at the prestigious Royal Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest.
Michael approached me to become his student. My family was unable to afford formal art instruction. An arrangement was agreed upon where by landscaping and the world of formal European fine arts tradition were traded. From 1975 through 1980, I committed to a rigorous formal apprenticeship. In the early 1980’s I began the challenging journey into watercolours as his protégé until has death in 1998.
In the late 1990’s I went through a spiritually transcendent experience in a sweat lodge that allowed me to come home for the first time to who I was as an Indigenous person of mixed ancestry. I came face to face with a collision of cultures in the Spiritual realm. All the negative messages that I heard through my life about Indigenous people were cleansed and dissolved from my being.
This was the penultimate moment of my rebirth as native man and artist. I went from separation to wholeness. This was my truth and reconciliation of my own being. It has shaped and formed the good road I have walked over the past 20 years. My Elders began to teach me the ways of the Snawayath (scared teachings) of my people, and foundational understanding Uy shqualuwun Nutsa maat (good thoughts/feelings, we are of one mind). As a Cultural teacher and artist, I share this with all people.
“Winds Of Change” was born in simplicity, from a young teen who’s fingers tender from commercial clam digging with his family on a huge summer tide. With sun beating down when a sudden soft ocean breeze signals the turning of the tides; a welcome reprieve with wrest insight. 13 +1 paintings extols my veracity of truth behind my resolve as an indigenous person and artist.
-Daniel R. Elliott