Article 5 – Animals and Landscapes in The North
The Last Light is not a traditional painting with aboriginal teachings or legend except for the northern lights being the ancestors. It is one of the series of images and daydreams that Jasyn has. He often makes up his own stories to suit his themes in a surreal approach. The lantern represents the European symbol of light and heat, which are certainly high valued necessities when the European settlers were battling the harsh realities of settling in the Arctic and sub-artic regions. Jasyn uses the lantern to try to create a relationship between natural lights and man made lights so as to explore dialogues between cultures and lights. The lantern on the back of a polar bear has a surreal quality to show the similarities between light and heat during times of global warming.
Turtle is a symbol associated with earth. It has been a common theme Jasyn returns to so often that Turtle Island becomes a part of his storytelling in art. The exaggerated color scheme between light and dark is used to show the scary situation that our earth is in at that moment.
As an urban Indigenous resident, Jasyn uses nature to present the current issue of climate change and global warming, which is the consequence of colonialism and industrialization that people are facing at present. With burning cities and industry on the Turtle Island’s back, the turtle’s eye reflects the ideal sunrise in a biodome that protects Indigenous women while dancing and praying.
As an adopted urban Indian, Jasyn feels that searching for Identity can be exhausting. However, he never stops trying to imagine his ancestry. In this painting, the braids change back and forth in the fire. The wings are strong but imperfect and damaged. The skulls are those who are gone but in the centre is the skull of a beaver, which Jasyn believes to be part of the beaver clan.
Jasyn imagines a conversation between the beaver and the raven just before the European settlers arrived:
Beaver: Have you heard that settlers are coming to our land from cross the ocean?
Raven: Is it true?
Mosquito represents disease and cross contamination, power of nature, and vulnerability of man. No one can escape the micro-organisms or parasites that can end up invading their personal space much. Jasyn uses this image as the analogy of man invading the space of the Mother Earth:
Who is the parasite and who is stronger?
Jasyn believes that the spirit of his ancestors runs through the heart and spirit of the Polar bear. The polar bear is angry as it battles the heat from climate change.
Jasyn is sympathetic with women as victims in the sex culture. This painting plays women in the oil industry to provoke deeper sympathy for the land to be exploited by the mega corporations of oil industry.
The owl spirit animal represents the deep connection which Indigenous people share with wisdom, good judgment, and knowledge. However, the ego of the owl is challenged by change and transition. Every once in a while, the ego of owl is kept in check. What are the reality of those checks, the consciousness, the angel or the messenger? In the case of the owl, the answers come in many forms.
Jasyn also likes to create space in his own imaginations, simply a fun fantasy painting. There is nothing traditional nor legendary, but every living thing in this fantasy painting has value:
It is alive and vibrant
As a male Indigenous artist, Jasyn also pays tribute to the strengths, obstacles and achievements of the many diverse women in his traditions. Working in Collaboration with the Thompson Urban Aboriginal Strategy, Jasyn had his series of paintings on the Seven Sacred Teachings exhibited in Thompson Recreational and Cultural Centre (TRCC) on November 29, 2019. In these paintings, Jasyn integrates his spirit and dreams with art works, hoping to combine both the triumphs and despair that women have faced. The melancholy, relief, hope, happiness and excitement of Indigenous women are fully presented in these paintings, which will be a lasting tribute to the historic legacy of Indigenous people and women in the north.