Coast Salish (Shíshálh) Nation
Margaret August was born in 1983 and still resides in the unceded Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories (Victoria, British Columbia). They are 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, they worked on developing their abilities as an artist. At first, they honed their talent for singing and playing music from a young age and, as an adult, sharpened their skills as a visual artist during their time spent with Butch Dick.
Since 2010 they have been exhibiting their work in community art shows and, while they give credit to renowned artists Susan Point, LessLIE, Mark Preston, Luke and John Marston as well as Maynard Johnny Jr. as their influencers, they have created their own unique style of design. In 2013, they began to advance their career utilizing their knowledge in business as well as print making thereby allowing them to become an independent artist.
Since 2017, they mentored under two Coast Salish artists Mark Gauti and Dylan Thomas who provided them with further guidance. During that time, they were able to secure a one-year Emerging Artist project grant from the People’s Cultural Council. This grant lead to them creating serigraph prints and custom works that illustrate the stories of their cultural heritage.
Margaret’s ancestral power crest figure Skw’etu’? influences their 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 them an awareness of their life’s purpose, and a devotion to creating art that instigates change along with a sense of hopefulness.