Brianna LaPlante a First Nations University Fine Arts graduate and artist reveals her final creations
- Memory McLeod
“We are All Medicine” is the title of Brianna LaPlante’s exhibit, which tells a story of personal healing through ceremony, family ties, and deep soul searching.
She describes her processes and the meanings behind her work with humility and generosity of spirit.
“When you braid your hair, you pray and you put your heart and good thoughts into it,” said Laplante. “Same with putting good energy into your work, braiding mind, body and spirit together. It’s something physically manifested to give back. It’s about being able to share with you guys what has been handed down, given to me.”
According to Audrey Dreaver, FNUniv Indigenous Fine Arts Program Coordinator and lecturer said the exhibits are about helping the artist share their story.
“It’s an amalgamation showcasing their process and techniques, use of terminology and artistic constructs as part of a four-year capstone class, she said.
During the exhibit, Dreaver described LaPlante’s work as having “raised the bar substantially.”
One piece made of copper had to be bolted to the wall signifying its high value gained through its conduit powers. LaPlante explained that it symbolizes how something highly valuable can come through something seemingly simple.
“I’m pitiful, all I have in this world is my prayers and my hands and my ability to make things,” said LaPlante. “The copper symbolizes a conduit for ideas, about how I comprehend my creations and how I adorn myself.”
Another piece shows three figures together in a portrait depicting LaPlante’s grandmother, her spirit name and her inner child.
“When I’m in a hard place I think about what I want for her, one of those three,” said LaPlante. “My inner child is an important one because the other two guide and guard her but she’s the one who creates. The three together are what keep me grounded and inform my art and processes.”
Completing the collection is a series of paintings that express the artist’s ways of using her four senses to stay grounded in the moment.
Swirling, smokey gray lines outline the images signifying the smell of smudge smoke and fingers braiding hair showing the power of touch to connect. Another features fingers holding the tip of a tongue signifying taste, and thirst but also being tongue tied and measuring one’s words carefully before releasing them. One shows a large eye in the center showing how one’s vision informs who we are and the things we create. Finally one shows a face contorted in either laughter or crying symbolizing the sense of hearing.
“For me when I look at it, I hear that famous aunty laugh,” she said. “Others see pain and that’s ok because on the other side of grief is joy. Feeling the feelings as they come and letting them wash over you. That’s being in the moment and fully experiencing the range of emotion. To me that is beauty,” LaPlante said.
In attendance was Big Sisters of Regina Association volunteer Nicolle Henrion, who met LaPlante as a bright and talented 12-year-old who always found a way to pay it forward.
“Even when I took her out to buy her something, she always gave me something back,” she said. “A drawing, a teaching. In her humbleness she always tries to do something for others. Today I see her exhibition as her giving something she loves that will hopefully bring a teaching too.”