By JORDAN PARKER
Special to Wreckhouse Press
Newfoundland artist Marcus Gosse knows the significance of knowing where you come from, and his roots are always reflected in his work. Represented by The Leyton Gallery of Fine Art in St. John’s, the Gallery On Queen in Fredericton, N.B., and more, he has a large platform to exhibit pieces special to him.
“I’ve been painting since 1999, and it’s incredible there are so many places that want to feature my work,” said Gosse.
He is currently part of an exhibit in Toronto called Wabanaki, where he is showcasing six pieces, and loves to use traditional Indigenous symbols in his pieces.
“I incorporate four different components. The Mi’kmaq star honours the Mi’kmaw nations in the world, and I use Mi’kmaq double curve designs, hieroglyphs and appliqué,” he said.
“The support I receive is amazing. I describe my paintings and the themes, and it goes a long way. I try to educate the viewer, and I talk about the seven teachings, including themes of support, love, joy and freedom.”
He credits his family with pushing him toward his career and calling, and is thankful that they did.
“My grandmother was Mi’kmaq on my Dad’s side. She would show me photo albums and tell me about my culture and history. It’s so amazing to learn where we’re from, our identity and do some research,” he said.
But it was a visit to a native burial ground at 10 years old with his father that would shape many of Gosse’s ideals and themes throughout his work.
“I still remember the layout, and I could even now draw verbatim how it looked. It had a profound effect on me. My dad told me about my heritage and my roots. He’s always encouraged me to draw, and when I taught visual arts in Indian Brook, he was so happy I got to explore my culture and have people help me,” Gosse said.
“He’s been an amazing influence. We went to Miami when I was asked to be part of a Canada 150 show, and I was so honoured. He’s been there for me every step of my journey, and that amazing man’s name is Bob Gosse. He’s so happy I can contribute to native culture in my own way.”
It’s crucial for Gosse to allow Canadians a window to learn about and embrace other cultures through his work.
“By putting aspects of my own culture in descriptions and in my paintings, galleries, customers and viewers get to learn so much. People see the passion in my work, as well as what I’m all about, and they respond to that,” he said.
“There are beautiful values and teachings in Indigenous culture, and it’s important people learn about conservation, proverbs from Indigenous leaders and more.”
Whether it’s about teachings of love, truth, honour, or stewardship and respect for the land, Gosse says we should look out for each other.
“We need to see each other and realize our spirits are connected. We should care for each other, and I share the teachings I’ve learned and the values from my culture with Canadians. I want to share those things through art,” he said.
To learn more, visit his website at http://www.marcusgosse.ca/.