Eruoma Awashish is an interdisciplinary artist originally from the Atikamekw of Opitciwan First Nation in the Mauricie region of Quebec. Born to an Atikamekw father and a Quebecois mother, Awashish believes her heritage “enables her to better understand the differences that distinguish these two people and create spaces for dialogues through her artwork.”
Currently based in Lac-Saint-Jean, Awashish holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts from the Université du Québec a Chicoutimi. Through her art practice, Awashish has
“created my own language… symbols that I had appropriated from the Catholic religion at the beginning and which, over time, have transformed themselves and become my symbols, with the meaning that I gave them.”
Her paintings, prints and installations explore ideas of mixing, metamorphosis, suffering and transformation as a way to reclaim her own spirituality.
In 2015, Awashish founded her fashion company, Awa Rebel, producing a line of screen-printed T-shirts and accessories featuring subversive Indigenous imagery. After observing many international fashion companies incorporating Indigenous symbols into their designs, Awashish felt it was time to offer consumers a more authentic product. According to her, those motifs are “our intellectual property, they’re our symbols; they make sense to us so we have to reclaim what belongs to us.”
An Awa Rebel garment allows an individual to “express pride in being Aboriginal or sharing the same values as First Nations people.”
Awa Rebel garments were sold through Awashish’s boutique in Saint-Félicien, at pow wows, and at the Ashukan Cultural Space in Montreal. Awashish’s artwork has been widely exhibited, at events like the 2018 Contemporary Native Art Biennial and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts installation Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan, a collaborative work with fellow Atikamekw artist Meky Ottawa and Innu artist Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush in 2017-2018.
Boutin, Vicky. “Deux générations, une même passion pour l’art autochtone” Radio-Canada, Société Radio-Canada, 13 Juillet 2018, http://ici.radio-canada.ca/regions/special/2018/portraits-d-artistes-de-mashteuiatsh/.
Soucy, Sabrina Awashish. “Portrait de mon artiste coup de cœur : Eruoma Awashish” NouveauxDébuts.ca, National Association of Friendship Centres, 8 April 2016, https://newjourneys.ca/fr/articles/portrait-de-mon-artiste-coup-de-coeur-eruoma-awashish.