Concordia alumna Cedar Eve Peters speaks about her mural painting and traditional jewelry
Cedar Eve Peters, an Ojibwe First Nations artist from Toronto, began beading because she wanted to try a different medium and explore her artistry.
Peters moved to Montreal when she was 18 and graduated from Concordia’s studio arts program in 2012. She now works in Montreal as an independent artist, creating brightly coloured beaded jewelry as well as drawings and acrylic paintings that she sells through Instagram.
Although she enjoys beading, Peters said she sometimes has to draw or paint to relax before starting a beading project. Beading requires a lot of concentration and is very tedious work, she explained. When the thread breaks, it can be frustrating. Nonetheless, she said she finds making earrings to be very therapeutic.
“I taught myself how to make earrings, but my jewelry is inspired by my mother and grandmother’s earrings,” Peters said. “I look at elements of nature for inspiration for my beading—from flowers to sunsets to the winter season.”
Peters’ work also includes mural paintings. She recalled that one of her most memorable experiences as a student was a trip to Peru in 2011. She volunteered alongside five other girls and had the opportunity to paint a mural for an elementary school.
This experience exposed her to the collaborative process of mural painting for the first time. From Aug. 13 to 21, Peters had a solo exhibition at a gathering called Unceded Voices: Anticolonial Street Artists Convergence, where she painted a mural on the corner of St-Jacques and St-Philippe Street. Unceded Voices is an event that brings together “primarily Indigenous-identified women, two-spirit, queer and women of colour street artists” to create murals in Montreal, according to their website.
Originally founded in 2014, the most recent edition of Unceded Voices took place in Montreal’s St-Henri neighbourhood, which has a variety of bare walls, abandoned buildings and train tracks. This year’s event is the first to receive funding from both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts de Montréal. “Unceded Voices is a call to action to rethink our relationships with the colonial cities, and to have the courage to listen to what the walls are saying to everyone,” said Camille Larivée, an Unceded Voices organizer.
Peters’ drawings and paintings, which she also sells through social media, often depict shape-shifting creatures that hover between human and animalistic. She described them as spirit beings with powerful energies. She said she is inspired by mythologies and stories found in Indigenous cultures.
“I hope my art can relate to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike,” she said. “The language of art allows for people to communicate with one another through a non-verbal means and is integral to keeping First Nations culture alive. It is my way of carrying stories forward and a way to remember my ancestors.”
To see more of Cedar Eve Peters’ work or to purchase her jewelry, check out her Instagram page @cedareve.
Photos Courtesy of Cedar Eve Peters