Coast Salish Nation
Margaret August was born in 1983 and still resides in the unceded Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories (Victoria, British Columbia). She is considered an emerging Coast Salish artist from Shíshálh First Nation who is also Two-Spirited.
While growing up in an urban environment with a strong connection to the community of Lekwungen, she worked on developing her abilities as an artist. At first, she honed her talent for singing and playing music from a young age and, as an adult, sharpened her skills as a visual artist during her time spent with Butch Dick.
Since 2010 she has been exhibiting her work in community art shows and, while she gives credit to renowned artists Susan Point, LessLIE, Mark Preston, Luke and John Marston as well as Maynard Johnny Jr. as her influencers, she has created her own unique style of design. In 2013, she began to advance her career utilizing her knowledge in business as well as print making thereby allowing her to become an independent artist.
Since 2017, she mentored under two Coast Salish artists Mark Gauti and Dylan Thomas who provided her with further guidance. During that time, she was able to secure a one year Emerging Artist project grant from the People’s Cultural Council. This grant lead to her creating serigraph prints and custom works that illustrate the stories of her cultural heritage.
Margaret’s ancestral power crest figure Skw’etu’? influences her art. Skw’étu? means Raven in Shashishalhem language, and he is the one who brings light in darkness. Legends tell us that Raven is the one who stole the sun from the grandfather who hid it away from the world in a box.
Known as the gatekeeper to the universal void where no form or structure exists (only fluidity and continual change), the Raven uses his mythic shape-shifting abilities to teach us life lessons.
Margaret’s experiences and natural artistic talents have given her an awareness of her life’s purpose, and a devotion to creating art that instigates change along with a sense of hopefulness.