A Part Of All Of Us

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Over the years, Jerry Whitehead's artwork has gone through a number of stages. The one thing that has remained constant throughout this progression is his focus on powwows and powwow dancers.

"Powwow dancers have been an ongoing theme in my work since I began painting. Seeing the dancers as a child had a lasting impression. The subject matter has been ideal for expressing a part of my culture as well as accommodating changes in my work," says the artist from the Peter Chapman First Nation.

As a child in Saskatchewan, Whitehead says he was interested in art like any of his friends. He says, "I used to draw as a kid. I used to draw all the time." Unlike the average kid, he used almost any source he could find for his drawings including the ashes that remained from fires and the lead in the bullets his father used as a hunter.

In his early teen years, Whitehead moved on from drawings done with pencils and lead to paintings. He believes that his interest in art comes from his family. Whitehead remembers his grandmother working with hides and says that his mother did beadwork and braided rugs.

His family supported his talents and allowed him to develop them. "I was lucky to be encouraged along the way," he says.

In addition to familial encouragement and an abundance of natural talent, Whitehead has sought out technical training. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Indian Art from the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax.

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