Two North Grenville residents have received a wonderful tribute: an Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Award in Arts. Finian and Lynn Paibomesai were presented with the award at a special event put on by the Anishinabek Nation 7th Generation. The annual Evening of Excellence is a celebration which recognizes and celebrates deserving Anishnabek citizens who have a commitment to career, community, education and the advance of the Anishinabek Nation.
Lynn and Finian have made their home in North Grenville for over thirty years, and raised their family here, being involved in the arts and culture community in the municipality. Finian’s art has been displayed at a variety of galleries, from Merrickville and Chesterville, to the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation at M’Chigeen on Manitoulin Island. It was especially significant that both Finian and Lynn were recognised in the Lifetime Achievement Award, as it acknowledged that no-one makes it on their own in the arts world: the partnership is central to the achievement. The citation for the award noted this:
“These two individuals have been married for more than 43 years and he has been producing traditional Indigenous artwork throughout those years while she has been his main supporter, forgoing her career to support him and his artwork while also becoming an artist in her own right. Their paintings and art show many aspects of the 7 Grandfather Teachings and a connection to the land.
Losing two of their sons at birth because of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), they’ve used the challenges they’ve been given to succeed and inspire a generation of people with their artwork. Their pursuit of art while raising their two daughters, Marion and Marlene, after such a tragedy, demonstrates the human experiences and the joys and challenges of creating art for a living”.
The nomination for the Lifetime Achievement Awards comes from the recipient’s home community, and it was the White Fish River community who were the ones to acknowledge the work that Finian and Lynn have created. It is, quite simply, a big deal to be honoured in this way.
Finian has taken traditional indigenous themes and styles and added his own vision to create new categories, and given the artistic community in North Grenville a special element that would otherwise be missing. The recognition by the Anishinabek Nation is a timely reminder of what an important contribution has been, and is being made by artists from a deep and spiritual tradition.
Finian and Lynn, congratulations. Dan and Barb!