by Terry Lusty, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – There’s a northern gem in the heart of the city. She’s Linda Wright, of Gwich’in heritage, a contemporary realist painter who hails from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, and presently resides in Edmonton. The vibrant image on the cover of this month’s Alberta Native News is one of her creations.
This talented artist has developed an interesting and uniquely northern style and flavour that grabs one’s attention almost immediately. Her art is appealing and moving – especially if one cares about the environment, the land and nature. She works primarily in acrylic on canvas, employing vibrant flashes of colour, accentuated with curvilinear lines and subject material that ranges from northern wildlife, people, the land, and more. Much more!
“My artwork is strongly influenced by the beauty of nature,” explains Wright. “My beliefs and values are firmly rooted in the arctic land my family originates from. Through my art, I intend to develop a sense of appreciation for the north and provide an insight into Gwich’in oral storytelling traditions. I use curvilinear lines and vibrant colors to create unique northern landscapes. With iconic northern animals and structures as subjects, I like to imagine that they are in the centre of the most amazing sights rarely seen. My narrative highlights the legends and stories of the Gwich’in people and touches on the importance of protecting the environment. My ideas represent my dreams, culture, land, vision, and reality.”
Wright tugs at one’s heart strings with strong strokes and undulating waves that sweep the horizontal planes and panoramas. Her backdrops are often the magical aurora borealis, those awesome, electrifying northern lights, illuminating cityscapes or landscapes. She also builds powerful base foundations, often of rock, on which she plants some of her foliage and animal imagery that lends itself to a vision of strength and majesty.
A lot of her inspiration is drawn from Elders’ stories and legends, that she expresses visually.
Linda comes from a family of artists and grew up creating art. When she left school, she enrolled in art classes in Calgary to extend herself to yet another level. She returned home and challenged herself by taking graphic design, art and cultural management. She did archival work, and her art was selected by various art galleries for exhibit, including at the Great Northern Arts Festival, the University of Alberta Gallery, the Beaufort Sea Conference, the Art Gallery of Alberta. She was also the presenting artist for the Peace Hills Trust Art Show in 2018 and 2019.
Wright has used her time during the pandemic to hone her creative skills while she cares for little ones at home. Her passion for visual storytelling is evident in each piece that she creates, expressing a deep appreciation for the north, for mother earth and for her Gwich’in culture.
Currently, Wright is part of the I am Collective and displays her work between 8:30 am and 3 pm on Saturdays and from 10:30 am to 3 pm on Sundays at the Downtown Farmers Market on 97 Street and 103 Ave in Edmonton. She can be contacted at [email protected]