Indigenous work on display at this year’s Artist Project in Toronto

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024 11:42am


Image Caption

Artist Jake Kimble is covered in honey. His photography will be on display at the 17th Annual Artist Project in Toronto.
By Crystal St.Pierre
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

More than 250 artists will showcase their work at the upcoming 17th Annual Artist Project being held from April 11 to April 14 at the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

The event provides a platform for Canadian artists to gain exposure and sell their work.

A highlight will be the inclusion of works by Indigenous artists Jay Soule and Jake Kimble.

Soule, whose brand is Chippewar, is from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in Ontario. This will be his fourth time participating in the show.

“I treat it as an opportunity just to promote and market my work and meet other artists and meet collectors,” said Soule. “It’s a way to get my work in front of the non-Indigenous community. A lot of my work is well known within the Native community, but not so much outside of that unless it’s the allied community.”

His vision and creative abilities are captured in paintings, clothing and a variety of products.

“I create pop art with an Indigenous twist. I worked between making paintings and installation and clothing and apparel,” Soule explained, adding he started his career as a tattoo artist.

The banner art on Jay Soule's Chippewar website.

At the show he will have a mix of pieces, including some painted skateboards, movie posters, paintings and neon signs from a series he has been working on.

“(It’s) pop culture products that have been Indigenized,” he said about his current collection.

Soule was drawn to the art world at a young age. He describes his perspective as being non-typical.

“It’s always been sort of rebelling against social norms and status quo and kind of pushing back. I mean, I guess I’d be considered anti-colonial before anti-colonial was really a word or catch phrase as it is today,” he said.

Jake Kimble

Kimble is a multidisciplinary Chipewyan artist from Treaty 8 territory, who finds photography an outlet for self-care, self-repair and gender-based ideology refusal.

He will showcase an installation piece that incorporates a series of photographs that span about 16 feet.

“It’s super exciting to be able to show this piece of mine, which is called My Guardian Angel Is Tired,” said the two-spirited artist. “It is always such a gift to be able to highlight clear Indigenous or two-spirit Indigenous art.”

The photographs displayed each represent a section of his adolescence, including “being a teenager, moving to the big city, dealing with themes such as sexuality, shame, sexual violence and addiction.”

Each of the photos has an element of self-portraiture, with the addition of materials including dirt, honey, bubbles, sugar and snow.

“Each one of those represents a deep different chapter in my life, in my adolescence,” said Kimble. “There are five photographic prints mounted on foam core and then installed… layered over each other but sticking off the wall.”

Kimble has always had a passion for photography. He tried out different avenues in the performing arts stream until he returned to his first love.

“A lot of my photography is based in self-portraiture because I use the camera as an auto ethnographic tool to understand my identity, my place in the world, what I’m feeling, what I’m going through. And so the camera helps me get whatever I’m feeling out of my body and it helps me to literally visualize it and then, in turn, makes it easier for me to process,” he said.

As a visual contemporary artist, he wants to focus on being authentic in telling his own story and have that serve the role of being an Indigenous artist. The Artistic Project is an avenue that supports his focus by letting him tell his story to guests and peers.

“In this particular show, what I do hope for, or what the goal is, or what this work does, is what I like to do in a lot of my work, (which) is to encourage others to investigate and be honest with themselves and hopefully encourage them to tell their stories in a way that you know is really authentic… with also a little bit of lightness and a little bit of playfulness and a little bit of humour. Because we all have really dark stories, and this piece does tackle a lot of my personal intensity growing up.”

Soule and Kimble’s work can be toured with curators throughout the event.

An opening night celebration April 10 will include a live DJ set for guests to enjoy a little dancing action, as well as a performance by Pixel Heller, a multimedia visual artist who will dazzle the crowd with her Moko Jumbie masquerade character.

Fashion Art Toronto is also curating a runway show with designer pieces that will be available to purchase after the show in the new F.A.T Boutique.

For more information or tickets to the event visit

Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.