The third project in the What Future series of commissions at UNIT/PITT Projects is Traditional Road Warriors by Kelly Roulette.
Traditional Road Warriors depicts the inner struggle of native people living among the inner city streets. In one painting, an elder looks tired and forlorn sitting along a skid row street. In another painting, a despondent mother is seen carrying her young son through a dismal urban area.
The two images evoke the hopelessness imposed on native people by lifetimes of poverty and racism, but something else as well: the bright colours worn by the people is indicative of their rich cultural background while the oppressive dullness of their surroundings gives rise to a question — who is best suited to forge a bright future?
Kelly Roulette is Ojibway from the Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba. She has been in the creative arts for more than 20 years and worked in a number of genres including theatre, radio and television. Kelly, a former lawyer, has expanded her creative work to include writing and painting.
This commission is curated by Cease Wyss, a Skwxumesh media artist from the village of Sla7an in North Vancouver, and a past recipient of the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for media art.
The What Future series is supported by a grant from the Vancouver Foundation.