Feature artist for February 2024: Gene Boshkaykin

By Chevi Rabbit, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter 

(ANNews) – The cover of the February edition of Alberta Native News is a vibrant portrait of a Powwow Dancer. Step into the captivating world of Gene Boshkaykin, an Ojibwa artist from Treaty 3 territory, where talent knows no bounds and inspiration springs from the depths of indigenous heritage. Guided by the memory of his distant cousin, Sterling Johnson, Gene’s artistry pays homage to a legacy that continues to influence his breathtaking creations.

Rooted firmly in his Indigenous roots, Gene’s art serves as a tribute to his cultural heritage. Despite not being steeped in traditional practices during his formative years, he masterfully weaves contemporary themes with timeless traditions, breathing life into each stroke of his brush. Gene’s narrative reminds our readers of the profound role of art in reconnecting urban Indigenous individuals with their rich cultural heritage.

At the heart of Gene’s artistic repertoire are powerful portraits, depicting Indigenous figures adorned in resplendent regalia. With meticulous attention to detail, Gene brings these vibrant characters to life, capturing the essence of Indigenous culture with unmatched authenticity and skill.

“I had a typical city-native childhood,” reflects Boshkaykin, “but it wasn’t entirely conventional. We didn’t partake in traditional practices like sweat lodges, but we did engage in powwows.”

Delving into the origins of his artistic journey, Boshkaykin shares a heartfelt anecdote. “Sterling Johnson, my distant cousin, was a burgeoning artist whose talent graced newspaper headlines. His brushstrokes breathed life into eagles, animals, and more. Though he’s no longer with us, his spirit continues to inspire.”

For Boshkaykin, art became a vehicle for personal healing and redemption. “My children are my motivation,” he affirms. “Their presence propelled me toward sobriety and a brighter future.”

Reflecting on his mother’s battle with addiction, Boshkaykin shares a poignant chapter of his journey. “My mother’s addiction took her to Minnesota, where she underwent intensive rehabilitation akin to a prison. However, this experience paved the path to her recovery, and today, she’s a respected elder in our community.”

In his artwork, Boshkaykin seamlessly melds pop culture with Indigenous themes, drawing from his upbringing and heritage. “My drawings reflect a blend of pop culture and Indigenous content, influenced by my upbringing and my mother’s guidance,” he explains.

Despite facing barriers as an Indigenous artist, including representation challenges and fierce competition, Boshkaykin remains undeterred. “I aspire to secure representation in a national gallery,” he shares. “Yet, hurdles persist, especially for artists from marginalized backgrounds.”

Boshkaykin extends an invitation to explore his portfolio and consider commissioning bespoke artwork. “Each piece is crafted with meticulous care, tailored to individual preferences,” he emphasizes. “Through my art, I endeavor to foster meaningful connections and share my unique perspective with the world.”

For those eager to delve deeper into Gene Boshkaykin’s artistic realm or commission custom artwork, he can be reached via Facebook or Messenger. As his artistic odyssey unfolds, Boshkaykin remains hopeful to overcome systemic barriers, surmount obstacles, and inspire others through his craft.

Be the first to comment on "Feature artist for February 2024: Gene Boshkaykin"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.