Mi’kmaq artist proud to showcase his heritage

Christopher Vaughan
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A Mi’kmaq artist with ties to the Bay St. George area is proud of his family’s heritage and grateful to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band for helping him expand his talents.

“Since I was young, driving with my family in my grandparents' jeep from St. David's to Stephenville grocery shopping, I would always notice a little beach like island on the left driving through Stephenville Crossing,” said Marcus Gosse, a current resident of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, of time spent in the local area.

“My grandmother, Alice Maude Gosse (neé Benoit), would tell me that the Mi'kmaq once lived on the island, and some of our distant relatives lived there.”

Marcus’ grandmother, a Mi’kmaq elder, would also talk to him about the aboriginal culture and history of such places as Red Brook, Cape St, George, Indian Head, Flat Bay, St. George's and Sandy Point. 

“I was always fascinated with Sandy Point and Mi'kmaq Culture,” he said. “I always knew we were native/Mi'kmaq from my grandmother’s conversations.”

Marcus was adopted by the Sandy Lake First Nation in Ontario in 2005. He was given the name Papamikapow, which means ‘Traveller’ or one who travels both physically and spiritually.

As an artist, Marcus has incorporated ancient Mi'kmaq images into his work, and paints landscapes in the places where he lives. He has taught visual arts at the elementary, junior, and senior high levels; presented several workshops and lectures; organized art shows in various First Nations communities; has had solo and group art shows; and his work can be found in collections.

Thanks to an agreement with the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band, a dozen pieces of his artwork have been installed at the K’taqmkuk Mi’kmaw Museum in St. George’s.

Since this display went up, Marcus has had several other opportunities to share his work with others, including an offer to have more than 30 pieces displayed at the Regional Museum of Art and History in Stephenvile.

“In the fall of 2013, I decided to create a collection of six historical graphite/ pencil drawings of Sandy Point, based on actual photographs,” said Marcus.

“The sketches involve landscapes of the community such as the church, lighthouse, and fishing buildings. I wanted to show that culture is always remembered and cherished.”

These sketches will be placed on permanent display in Sandy Point Museum, which is located at the town hall in St. George's.

He’s also working with the Stephenville Historical Society for a solo show during the summer of 2014 to further promote his artwork in the Bay St. George area. 

“Newfoundland not only has a rich European heritage, but also a great native culture,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of it and to show the beauty of my Mi'kmaq culture.”

For more information about Marcus and his artwork, visit www.marcusgosse.weebly.com or www.marcusgosse.synthasite.com

Organizations: Sandy Lake First Nation, First Nations, Mi’kmaw Museum Regional Museum of Art and History Sandy Point Museum Stephenville Historical Society

Geographic location: Sandy Point, St. George's, Stephenville Happy Valley Goose Bay Indian Head Flat Bay St. George Ontario Newfoundland

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