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Cree Artists Database

List of registered artists and artisans from Eeyou Istchee and surrounding areas.

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Jossée Bernier

Visual Arts:
Paintings | Photography
Performing Arts:
Music | Theatre
Multidisciplinary Arts:
Storytelling | Video

Location: Ouje-Bougoumou



Photo Gallery

Short description of your art.

My art is an essential extension of who I am and the way I interpret the world around me. This includes sound, movement, and visual art. I like to believe I come from a long line of artists and I think that passion rubbed off on me growing up. I have always been drawn to music and art and so naturally I found ways to incorporate these into my own life. Now, it is essential to my wellbeing and I am immensely grateful to be able to translate visions into tangible, audible, or visual forms. I create art that resonates with me and I have definitely developed my own style of it over the years. Although singing and painting are most dominant, I love anything that allows me creative control such as graphic design, photography, music, and even interior design. My work often requires me to be vulnerable and my only goal is to help inspire people to feel. I can spend countless hours perfecting a project until I can step back from it and know it is at completion. Art continuously teaches me to be patient and to trust in my abilities so I love the challenge it can sometimes be. My work often reflects the land, ethereal variations, indigenous culture, and cosmic evolution.

Where did you learn your art?

I learned my art's through passion. Sounds cliché but I was not born with the ability to sing. I was born with something just as important - the passion to do it. From a really young age I always wanted to sing and although it took me many years to develop my craft, my hard work and dedication eventually began to pay off. I found my own voice and style of singing that I felt connected to. I also taught myself to draw at a young age, and then later picked up the piano which I fell in love with. I learned by ear and it has been that way ever since. I also then picked up a camera and fell in love with capturing beautiful places out on the land. I am always looking for creative ways to enhance its beauty. I then later picked up the guitar and although I am no professional I was able to teach myself the basics which I am proud of. Whenever I get stuck, I simply look it up on the internet. Now that I am older, I also recently picked up painting which I fell in love with as well and is now an important part of expression for me. Of course, learning anything comes with persistence and dedication and so I always made the time to develop my crafts.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I find inspiration for my work in many different ways, and it almost always depends on the art I am doing. For instance, most of my painting and photography is inspired by the land of Eeyou Istchee. From the colours and tones, to the sunsets and sheer magnetism of the land - that is what a strive to capture and reflect the most in my work. I also love to incorporate Cree culture such a traditions and spiritual beliefs that are true for me. I am also inspired of other peoples way of interpreting and capturing these as well. For music, other female vocalists such as Sarah Mclachlan's soothing tones have always inspired me to vocally find my own. I am also inspired by a musicians ability to make me feel, which is the beauty of music. I admire artists who remain true to themselves, their sound, and their craft. Music carries a much deeper message that goes beyond sound, lyrics, and vocals so I am always keeping an eye out for that. My friends and family have also always inspired me growing up. Many people in my family are talented in some way or another from drawing, to music, to wood carving, to sewing, to even graphic design, and handy work. My dad for instance was always an inspiration as well as he was always drawing and coming up with creative projects.

Have you received any formal training?

I have not received any formal training. All of the artist skills I have developed throughout my life have been self taught. I was always inspired my family members and friends growing up so I always took the initiative to teach myself. At what would first start off as hobbies quickly turned into necessities as I found that the arts are essential to my well being. Although I have not received any formal training, I would definitely be willing to in areas such as; vocal/guitar lessons, graphic design, and even classical opera. I am always looking for opportunities to grow and gain more skill, experience, and knowledge that will further my development and artistic talents. Although I am mostly self taught, I am now currently participating in a Music Production and Business course in my community that is offering me essential skills and knowledge that I will need for the music industry such as production, recording, set up, and management. This course will enable me to work more professionally in the music industry and as a self proclaimed artist.

What other art forms do you practice?

I have had the opportunity to be able to study contemporary ballet for 4 months as a young child. This enabled me to study dance in much more professional environment and although I no longer pursue dance, the discipline has always stuck with me. I also recently had the opportunity to work for an Indigenous theatre arts program with AANMITAAGZI for 4 months as well. Due to the nature of the work, this allowed me to develop essential skills in vocal, movement, and story telling. It also enabled me to gain skills in stage management, set/costume design, and stage performance. Theatre arts is an incredibly intensive field that requires you to be present in all areas of yourself so there is no room for doubt, fear, or insecurity. I was fortunate enough to be able to work alongside with incredibly talented individuals and professionals so although the training was intensive so was the fun. The skills I have gained from that experience will be carried all throughout my life.

Have you ever received any awards or special recognition?

I recently received an award from my community for "Woman in Creative Arts & Music", which I humbly accepted. I have been fortunate enough to have always had my community standing beside me and supporting all of my artist endeavours. There are no words to amount how grateful I am for that. I was also previously nominated for the "Rising Star Award" from the Cree Native Arts and Crafts Association which I did not receive but was honoured to have been nominated for regardless. I have been independently (so to speak), striving towards music for several years now and it was nice to have that recognized on a regional level. My goal in the future is to be able to perform at and receive an award from the Indigenous Music Festival in Manitoba. I also previously competed in a French talent competition and won first place for. I was astonished, as I was competing against veteran musicians and vocalists that I was sure would win. It was an honour seeing that only 2 Cree people were identified in the whole competition and we both placed. I was a thousand dollars richer that day which as a teenager - was a lot. I was also headlined in the news paper for being the first Cree musician take home first place in the competition.

Do you sell your work? If so, How?

Yes, I sell most of my art work and music services privately meaning I am not managed or have any connections to selling my artwork through retail. I mainly sell my paintings to Entities in the community, community members, and friends and family who wish to buy pieces from me. I hope to be able to get some prints made of my work so that my art can reach even further but for now, I am more than happy to send my originals to new homes. I am going to be hosting an art event in my community in the future that will showcase my most recent art work and pieces that will also be purchasable. I am hoping that events like this will make my art more accessible to others and broaden my artist connections.

Has your art work ever been mentioned in any media?

Not that I am aware of. Although is was not credited, my photography was also in The Nation magazine which I was really proud to see.

Please provide any information on your buyers.

I just recently began selling my artwork, so most buyers are from my community. My local Band Office recently purchased several pieces of my art pieces that will be gifted to outside members through special events, AGA's, and so forth. Thee CNACA also recently purchased a few pieces to showcase my work and potentially gift or sell in the future. I am hoping to be able to sell some pieces to the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Culture Institute in the future as well so that tourists visiting the community will be able to purchase local art. I have also been able to sing and perform for many different special and formal events, festivals, and conferences both locally and regionally for the past several years. I have had the opportunity to open for both new and upcoming artists as well as veteran musicians within the Cree Nation. I have also been able to sing in surrounding areas such as North Bay, Montreal, and Toronto. I am always willing and eager to be able to share my music so any opportunity to do so is greatly appreciated.

Please provide any other information you would like to mention.

Art is often a deeply personal endeavour. Aside from it being a powerful form of expression, it has kept our culture alive for millennia. Do not be afraid to speak, but if you are then let your art speak for you - for that is a language almost everyone can understand. Miigwetch CNACA