Mark Seabrook, a gifted Ojibwe artist, poet, writer, performer, and playwright is a recent addition to the Ottawa area artistic and spiritual community.
Early in life, Mark was adopted by a non-native couple and grew up surrounded by the natural beauty of Manitoulin Island. He returns there often to visit his family and to renew his connection with the land of his youth. His mother, a teacher and published author encouraged his creative spirit, challenging him to explore his gifts. His father, an entrepreneur who established a tractor museum to house his favourite machines, set high standards for all his children.
Like many artists, Mark is an intriguing individual, sociable and solitary by turns. Both aspects are fuelled by a life that bridges the rural and the urban, - the primitive and the urbane.
To support his art, Mark works weekdays as a public school teacher in a remote northern reserve that lacks many modern amenities including power lines, cable television, and reliable Internet access. He originally chose teaching to share his love of art with children and now teaches all subjects with the same passion. When he isn't teaching, painting, or writing, he wanders through the countryside of northern Quebec and reconnects with the sense and spirit of the land. When he isn't on the reserve, he returns to his partner, technology, noise, and city life in downtown Ottawa.
He paints wherever he is, filling his canvases with bright blocks of acrylic colours layered later with more subtle care. His style is strongly reminiscent of another aboriginal artist, Norval Morriseau, - one of his sources of inspiration.
He paints quickly, driven to record, again and again, bold images and symbols that speak eloquently of his Ojibwe heritage. Once his vision is recorded, he works with it, refining and enhancing it until he is satisfied and can move on to the next canvas.
Mark has a gift for depicting aspects of aboriginal culture and spirituality that extend beyond common stereotypes. His paintings usually include people and each figure is strewn with and surrounded by symbols that define who they are inside, as well as how they appear to the world. Both are important to Mark.
Drawn to record the contribution of aboriginal people to the North American military, Mark has produced several paintings that pay tribute to their efforts as warriors for their countries.
Although Mark's early works often depicted solitary men (usually Mark himself or one of his brothers), his latest works are breathtakingly beautiful images of couples, of mothers and children, and of families. Magically, they pre-date but appear to predict his partner's pregnancy!
Born to both Bird Clan and Fish Clan, birds and fish feature prominently in many of his paintings. The birds, often ravens, sit silent and bear witness or carry messages to the figures that live within his works. The name of Mark's Web site, www.twinravens.com, reflects the importance of the raven to communication in his life.
Copyright & copy; 2001 Mark Seabrook.
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