FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A local artist is engaging the public in a free printmaking project inspired by the Michif language.

KidzArt Dayz in the Community is an adaptation of the Two Rivers Gallery’s annual event, typically held outside the Civic Plaza in Prince George.

This year, Métis artist Catherine Ruddell came up with a creative way to promote learning and share the Michif language with others. Mîtawîtân (Let’s play) is the project developed for KidzArt Dayz in the Community.

Ruddell is a printmaker, textile artist, and sustainability advocate, and she’s comfortable using her art as a way to learn and communicate.

“Because culture and language are so connected, I am starting to incorporate it in my creative work to continue to learn and engage with new words,” says Ruddell. “When people learn that I am Métis, they ask if I speak French, but not if I speak Cree or Michif.”

While speaking with Mid-Island Métis Elder Stella Johnson, Ruddell discovered that both families came from the same part of Northern Alberta.

“Speaking with Elder Stella Johnson about this art project connected me to the community. I am very grateful for her time and words of encouragement for this project.”

Throughout June, Two Rivers Gallery invites the public to engage with the Michif language and the art of printmaking through the socially distanced project.

To participate, pick up a free print kit that includes two Michif language cards and materials for three different stamps. With the help of Ruddell, learn how to make stamps, and submit two of them to the Rustad Galleria for Ruddell to combine and display a print installation in the gallery.

Print kits are available at Two Rivers Gallery, Huble Homestead, and the Makerie starting June 9th. Stamps will be collected by the gallery from June 29th to July 3rd, and from July 11th to August 8th, see Ruddell’s installation at Two Rivers Gallery.