Untitled Plant 1 is a 91cm square painting that depicts a common houseplant juxtaposed with a pattern background. I have chosen to depict houseplants in this painting to draw attention to the shared histories of plants and human beings. Imperial and colonial projects touched both plants and humans at the point of European discovery. The histories of domesticated plants parallel indigenous histories in ways such as being taken and exploited to the point of extinction. This painting also addresses issues of authenticity and tradition with the use of design and pattern development. The plane of the painting is fragmented to add tension and to speak to my personal history of feeling fragmented and disjointed.
Plants have always had a special place in my heart. Since I was a child I have enjoyed their company. I have always surrounded myself with them all my life; they are a source of comfort on winter days and a live subject for drawing exercises when I need some inspiration. I chose domesticated houseplants for two reasons; first, I could rely on my own documentation for the paintings. In the past I have got my image sources from the Internet, as I was painting endangered plants. Secondly I see parallels between the history of plant cultivation and indigenous colonial histories. From the Age of Discovery at the end of the 15th century Europeans have been documenting their discoveries of these “New Worlds”. Royals sent out scientists and artists to document, collect, dissect, and name new and foreign beings (‘beings’ in the sense of anything living). From that moment on humans and their objects, as well as plants, have been used for imperialist advancement, most notably in the form of consumerism. As Anne Whitelaw states, “Anthropologists in particular were concerned with collecting as many and as varied specimens from such cultures before the inevitable assimilation with European culture became too evident. While there was little desire to ensure the survival of human members of such cultures, great care was taken to safeguard the more elaborate and significant objects these members produced.”  Indigenous arts, artifacts, and crafts have been collected, or rather stolen, to be shipped back to the Imperial powers and placed in museums and private collections. Throughout the centuries these objects have been taken, now being mass-produced in other places and then shipped back. You can see this in dollar dream catchers made in China or the souvenirs shops that sell totem poles made in Indonesia. The same can be said for plants around the world. Periods in time such as Orchid Mania and fern fever, or pteridomania, were eras that decimated certain species, which even today are not found in their original habitats but can be found in your local flower shop.
In Untitled Plant I there is the inclusion of patterns and designs. This, for me, is an act of reclamation. Beading patterns and designs adorned Metis and Cree garments to signify tribal and familiar affiliations as well as Metis garment production during the fur-trade. As I am just becoming familiar with my own family’s history and ancestry I am creating my own patterns and designs responding to archival research. The technique I am using to create these patterns is no less laborious than beading; the act of this laborious practice connects me to my ancestors through the dedication of time and practice. Through acts of connects me to my ancestors through the dedication of time and practice. Through acts of designing, taping and painting I am celebrating and claiming ancestral practices in contemporary painting techniques. By engaging in this I am building my own traditions and creating body memory similar to beading techniques. Much like Christi Belcourt I am engaging in notions of beading of my ancestors but also European influences. Robert Houle states,
“Today, there is an emergence of a new art by a new generation of young artists. These come from two different aesthetic traditions: North American and Western European. The first is deeply rooted in tribal ritual and symbolism; while the latter is an irreversible influence committed to change and personal development. This new art is traditional and contemporary in source. Also, it is innovative and sophisticated in style and technique.”By activating both these aesthetics, I invoke a contemporary indigenous mixed-race art practice.
 Trepanier, France, and Chris Creighton-Kelly, eds. Understanding Aboriginal Arts in Canada Today: A Knowledge and Literature Review. Rep. Ottawa: Canada Council for the Arts, 2011. 46. Print.
 “These orchid hunters desire for discovering and collecting, and the insatiable demand for the flowers in Europe and America, was devastating to the native orchid populations as well as the trees on which the epiphytic flowers grew. There are still areas in Central and South America in which the plants never recovered.” Amelinckx, Andrew. "Old Time Farm Crime: The Cutthroat World of Victorian Orchid Hunters." Modern Farmer. Modern Farmer, 01 Aug. 2014. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.
 "Pteridomania." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Feb. 2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.
 “Frugality, efficiency, family labour units, and an acute sense of shifting market trends enabled Metis women to maintain access to consumers. The longevity and volume of their production, and their use of marketing strategies ranging from contractual arrangements with fur-trade companies to community-based entrepreneurship, suggest that much of the material in museum collections came from their hands.” Racette, Sherry Farrell. "Sewing for a Living: The Commodification of Metis Women's Artistic Production." Contact Zones: Aboriginal and Settler Women in Canada's Colonial Past. Ed. Katie Pickles and Myra Rutherdale. Vancouver: UBC, 2014. 41. Print.
 "Christ Belcourt Bio." Christi Belcourt. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
 Trepanier, France, and Chris Creighton-Kelly, eds. Understanding Aboriginal Arts in Canada Today: A Knowledge and Literature Review. Rep. Ottawa: Canada Council for the Arts, 2011.17. Print.