by Monika Blichar, Owner and Producer Art World Expo
I first met Marilyn Mckee in 2010 when producing the first of a series of events; now known as Art World Expo produced in Vancouver and Toronto. Drawn to her talent in jewellery making back then, I knew that she was a treasure and kept my eyes on her. I think back to all those phone calls I made to check in over the years and wonder at how she could stand me asking about her art and progress. I wasn’t a customer after all; just an agent and promoter keeping tabs on her. Through my eyes, I knew that she was something special. I am really pleased that I kept in touch as today, she is the first feature artist of 2016 in my studio and gallery in North Vancouver.
If you haven’t met Marilyn, I will tell you that behind the stunning pieces is a truly wonderful woman who is not only a talented artist but an accomplished professional, mother and community member. Marilyn McKee is a member of the Tsit Gitanee (Eagle) clan of the Haida Nation, whose roots are from the islands of Haida Gwaii; world famous for its natural beauty and talented artists. Aside from creating, Marilyn is an active mother and grandmother and contributes to the community regularly. She is currently the President of Raycam Community Centre; the only community center in the Lower Mainland to offer free programs for kids and adults. She has been with the organization for over 10 years and has done everything from leading art projects to sewing 50 Halloween costumes.
Since a child, Marilyn has always had an artistic ability. Even when asking her about her work and photographing her for this article, her childlike joy and wonder shine through in her smile and in the way she talks about her work. She is at ease with her imagination and an innocence about her talent has stayed within her spirit. She is inspired by traditional stories and moulds them into her art with a modern twist, incorporating Celtic design, Fairies and mermaids amongst more traditional Northwest Coast elements. Her most popular are the Fairies; which are breathtaking in both jewellery and paintings to say the least.
As an artist myself, I feel privileged to have seen her art evolve into an array of beautiful works ranging from jewellery, drums, and paintings. I look forward to sharing our space with her essence this month; not only because of the beauty of the works but also to see an another artist’s work through my eyes and through those of our visitors.
Unafraid and experimental with her work, MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery is pleased to have Marilyn McKee as the January 2016 feature artist. Her use of many unconventional methods in her artwork result in a fresh look at the knowledge and richness her Haida culture.
For more information, please visit Mab Art Studio
All pieces featured are listed in the Facebook.