OHSWEKEN — Family, friends and visitors were given the opportunity to view and purchase artwork made by the young artists from the Group of 6, an art group that began in 2016, as well as have the opportunity to meet them on Sunday, May 20 during their Third Annual Showcase.
Set up within and outside of the beautiful Everything Cornhusk gallery, the colourful artwork was displayed around the room and the young artists were also seated outside to sell greeting cards with their work printed upon them.
“I have fourteen pieces on display,” said Frankie Warner, one of the six artists. “We were selling cards with all of our pieces on them and some posters, some are signed and some are unsigned. All of our work inside is for sale too.”
Warner worked alongside the other member of the group; Imani Mitten, Kendall Jacobs, Kaya Hill, Hailey Vanevery and Haylee Anderson to create artwork that she said was inspired by her family members.
“I really didn’t have any themes I just kind of painted what I was thinking about and what I was inspired by at the time, so I took a lot of ideas from my grandma and my family,” she said. “I did a couple of pieces about my sister and my grandma and just painted from that, I also like the colour purple so you can see a lot of that in my work.”
The groups first year held ages from 12-15, and this years group welcomed an older category of 13-17. Warned explained that since the start they’ve welcomed new members.
“There are four of us that are original members and since then we’ve found two new members,” she said. “We meet up on Wednesdays and get food from TNT because we have funds for our suppers. Then we eat and we paint and some of us paint at home but we like to paint together because it’s a lot better that way.”
And this sense of enjoying each others company while working goes for the whole group, as Hill explained that she joined the group to simply enjoy the experience.
“I like it,” said Hill. “I enjoy feeling like I belong in a group. It’s like a club and it’s nice to have everyone come in and see our work and have the younger kids know that they can do it too.”
But as they have become young role models rather than just artists, Hill credited Elizabeth Doxtater, the owner of Everything Cornhusk who organizes and facilitates the group.
“We look at her as our mentor but also our friend, and she’s guided us through [the processes of making art].”
Doxtater, who offered her gallery space to the group for the day and for the duration of their painting sessions, explained that the group has evolved into something to uplift the youth regardless of their painting talent — even though talent is what the members are full of.
“They don’t have to be Rembrandt or Picasso or anything, because it’s more than creating art, it’s also being a part of a group, it’s representing the community and it’s part of showing the community what they can do,” said Doxtater.
She also explained that the group and everything done throughout the duration of the sessions was all for the benefit of the participating youth.
This years showcase of art was dedicated in memory of Janie Johnson, who was Mitten’s aunt and former Cayuga Language Teacher.
All funds made through the art wok of the artists went directly to the artists, and printed on the back of their greeting cards is their logo. The logo is an artistic adaptation on the bundle of arrows representing unity in the Great Law of Peace and the strength that they have when they unite.