“A Day in the Life” with Anishinaabe artist Aylan Couchie

Aylan Couchie is an Anishinaabe artist from Nipissing First Nation in Northern Ontario. She is the mother of three boys: Kye, Kody and Kaiden and grandmother to Klyde who just turned one. In 2016, she received her BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is currently an MFA Candidate at OCAD University where she is pursuing her graduate studies with a focus on Indigenous monument and public art. Her work has organically evolved into autobiographical interpretations stemming from her relationship with her Anishinaabe grandfather. She has been considering the social and political context of her Indigenous heritage through choice of materials and their pre-existing intended use. By playing with hybridity, found object and form, her sculptures become a narrative, each one breathing its own account of past and present into the world around it.

She’s been the recipient of several awards including “2015 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture” through the International Sculpture Center and the Inaugural Barbara Laronde Award from the Native Women in the Arts organization. Most recently, Aylan won the 2016 Premier’s Award in the Recent Graduate category. She will soon see her first large scale public art commission raised 70 feet to overlook the City of Barrie thanks to the progressive initiative of developer and home builder, Pratt Homes. When she’s not working or at school she spends time up north at home (Nipissing First Nation) and with her sons (when they have time for her).

Ayaln is one of five selected students in OCAD University’s new artist-in-residency program, the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation Global Experience Project, which gives accomplished arts students the opportunity to work with a world renowned artist. The inaugural artist-in-residence of this five year initiative is acclaimed London based artist and filmmaker, Isaac Julien.

at work - artwork for screenprinting - Aylan Couchie
Aylan Couchie at work – artwork for screenprinting
at work - inking up a large scale hand carved relief woodworking piece for printmaking - Aylan Couchie
Aylan Couchie at work – inking up a large scale hand carved relief woodworking piece for printmaking
at work - staining woodwork - Aylan Couchie
Aylan Couchie at work – staining woodwork
at work - welding
Aylan Couchie at work – welding
off time and research spent at home on Nipissing First Nation - Aylan Couchie
off time and research spent at home on Nipissing First Nation
off time spent at home on Nipissing First Nation
off time spent at home on Nipissing First Nation
personal time - driving around North Bay with my youngest son
personal time – driving around North Bay with my youngest son
personal time - Wayhome Music Festival with my oldest son and his girlfriend
Aylan Couchie personal time – Wayhome Music Festival with my oldest son and his girlfriend

What ‘hood’ are you in?

Queen West backed onto the ever fabulous Entertainment District

What do you do?

My primary practice lies in sculpture, installation and public art. I’m also a screenprinter and oil painter.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working with my metal fabricator to create H.I.O Big Chiefs, a large scale sculpture bound for Barrie, Ontario. Alongside that I’m in the middle of my graduate studies creating works for my MFA and thesis.

Where can we find your work?

On my website and Facebook Page. Upcoming exhibitions are in the works, details are always kept up to date on my website and social media accounts. Twitter: @Aylanx – Instagram: @Aylanx

 

 

Joel Levy
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Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian.

Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography