Saulteaux and Cree artist Keith Bird crafts traditional ceremonial and spiritual objects with contemporary painting and sculpture to honour countless Indigenous leaders and warriors of both the past and the present. Recognizing historical leaders such as Crazy Horse, Pound Maker, Big Bear, Geronimo, Chief Piapot and many others, Bird sheds light on the spirituality, strength and resilience of Indigenous veterans who have fought and continue to fight to protect land, culture and human dignity. Using the drum as symbolic of Indigenous prayer, ceremonial practice as well as cultural cohesion, Bird creates a space to act as a bridge for healing, understanding and connection for all peoples.
Keith Bird is originally from the George Gordon First Nation and transferred to Cote First Nation, which is his mother’s origins. After spending many years as an iron worker, Bird received a BFA from the University of Regina (2008) followed by an MFA (2013). His work is represented in public and private collections in Canada and USA. Along with a painting, sculpture and performance-based art practice, Bird is an educator with a goal to engage all in the understanding of Indigenous culture and spirituality. He currently teaches at the First Nations University of Canada.
Keith Bird, The Altar 1, 2016, oil on canvas. Photo: Wendy Peart