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Artist Spotlight & Toronto Visit
Darwin Peters
Fall 2022

In September 2022, we welcomed artist Darwin Peters in our community (The Esplanade, downtown Toronto) for one week. During that time, not only we exposed Darwin's work to our community and supported the sale of his paintings, but we also showed him parts of Toronto and especially realized a dream of his, which was to see a Morrisseau painting live (we visited both the AGO and to the City Hall).

When we later traveled to Pikangikum, we were privileged to film artist Darwin Peters in his painting studio and we were honoured that Darwin shared his story with us - which is first a sign of mutual trust and respect. He was grateful for the opportunity to share with the world his love for painting and how it saved his life. 

This project is a part of Ontario Culture Days, supported by Ontario Arts Council and RBC.

Filmed and Edited by Isorine Marc - Additional Editing by Iris Unlu

In Darwin’s words (video transcript):

I've been into art for 16 years already and I just want to keep going with it because I love painting on canvas. Artists can make their dreams become a reality. Just telling them to keep following their dreams. Never give up.

Whenever I go like this with my brush, like creating an X after I paint the background and I stare at the canvas and just sit there for a couple of minutes staring at it and I capture that image and I quickly draw it in there whenever I look at one color and then I bring that color onto the canvas. My favorite part is outlining. Sometimes, when I look at a painting with just colors on them, I say to myself that painting is garbage now. Then after the outlining, it turns out beautifully.

I started painting in 2006 when I lost my closest cousin. That's when I started to draw and paint. And then when I didn't have anything to do, I wanted to take my own life because it wasn't the same without him. And then, when I was in school, going back, dropping out a couple of times, Principal told me to keep painting because I will need it in the future.  I barely got any supplies because I didn't have anything. Then I just kept on drawing on blank papers or anything that's blank. And then on 2011, July 14, I lost my sister due to a truck accident. Stopped painting for a year. Then in 2013 my wife told me to go back painting and she encouraged me to keep painting   because it helps me focus on, focus on living and why I'm still here. 

Many times I was told to be a hockey player. But that wasn't my dream. My dream was to become a painter. Like Norval Morrisseau.  I wanted to be like him, to share my art for people. My name is Darwin Peters And I'm from Pikangikum First Nation, Ontario.

Photos by Isorine Marc

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