Maanii Oakes is a working nineteen year old Swampy Cree Anishnabek and Kanienkehaka cultural tattoo practitioner and visual artist in the mediums of skin stitch, handpoke, pencil crayon and most recently raw hide sculpture. Her work is influenced by her home of Eeyou Istchee, as pressed by her late grandfather in enacting Cree ways of governance and being. She tattoos both traditional and contemporary designs pulling from her own archival research and the strong material culture of her ancestors including bulrush weaving patterns and the painted caribou blankets of James Bay. In contrast her figurative pieces address recent history and present day colonialism, not pandering to loss of what she never had but rather looking to engage the stark reality of living culture seeping through layers of assimilation. Her practice also includes a variety of public speaking engagements and mentorship in community arts centering environmental justice and indigenous stewardship demonstrating her commitment to community and cultural exchange.
Flourishing features the work of seven artists from across Canada whose work addresses the complexities of what it means to flourish, and how flourishing exists in harmony with, and in juxtaposition to, suffering.