Sharifah Marsden was born in December 1976. Encouraged by her parents to embrace her Anishinaabe heritage, Sharifah began to draw in her ancestral style.
“My artistic life started at a young age. I began with painting, and I also loved to create floral and geometric beadwork designs on traditional pow wow regalia. One of the earliest teachings from my mother was to continue creating images that relate to my culture, in order to maintain my connection to my Anishinaabe heritage, and for my identity to endure throughout formal training.”
Prior to work with jewelry she had become a proficient painter, drawer and bead-worker with a love for both floral and geometric design which is still fundamental to her work today.
From 2008 onward Sharifah left her home in the plains and began to educate herself in the styles of the Northwest Coast. During this time, she began to work with jewelry. Sharifah began her formal education at the Native Education College in BC under the tuition of Kwakwaka’wakw artist Dan Wallace where she learned to engrave. Then, in 2010, under the tuition of master Haida artist Rick Adkins through the First Peoples Cultural Council and most recently at the Vancouver Metal Arts School with Gerold Mueller.
Through this multi-faceted education Sharifah developed a style which drew from many different cultural backgrounds. Yet Sharifah’s main objective in her work is to celebrate and recognise her heritage by focussing on her Anishinaabe roots. Her silverwork regularly depicts the geometric patterns which are unique to the textile work of the plains. She even creates intricate beading and weaving patterns on her jewelry through an amazing implementation of engraving and detailing.
“My artistic goal as an Anishinaabe jeweler is to continue to stay true to my cultural art practice, and be successful in this to ensure to contribute to an overall recognition of Anishinaabe art. I work on this goal every day with a commitment to develop my technical skills and to teach art to the next generation. I must do my part to ensure that the Anishinaabe style grows through the tradition of engraving and goldsmithing.”
Sharifah strives to better herself as an artist through a strong education and incorporation of multitude of techniques from many different artistic disciplines. Sharifah’s dedication and discipline to her craft is evident in all of her work. Each new piece is completely unique, elegant and expertly crafted.