Indigenous Rural Arts Mentorship Program    

Featured Story

Indigenous Rural Arts Mentorship Program  

Online Exhibition 

 launch Saturday, May 28th at 1:00 pm  

In-person at AGSM | August 25th – October 15th, 2022 

WINNIPEG – May 20th, 2022 


About the Artists  

Annie Courchene is an Anishinaabe visual artist from Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba, where she currently resides. In her work, she uses several mediums which include acrylic and aerosol painting, ink, graphite drawing, beadwork, and sewing. She is inspired by the Anishinaabe painters, crafters, and artists that have come before her, and the traditional Anishinaabe woodland and floral styles.  

Anne Courchane
Artist: Anne Courchene- “I have been interested in art since my early school years. I paint, bead, sometimes sew. I try to draw every single day so I can improve my art and to begin to develop my own style…I am looking forward to the encouragement and connection as part of this mentorship program.”

Annie would like to thank MAWA for the opportunity to contribute her artistic self-expression within the RAMP program. 

Frances Cooper 

Francis Cooper, Upon Waking
Caption: Francis Cooper, Upon Waking, chalk pastel on toned paper, 16″x12″, 2022

Frances Cooper is an interdisciplinary artist who has been connecting, creating and contributing to Earth for decades. She is a mother/sister/auntie/wife of mixed descent and culture who is determined to remain intact and true to herself in our current world. She shares life values and learning while exploring this world and crafting her art. Creativity has been applied to all facets of life in her journey from growing up in the Parkland area of Manitoba to her current residence in The Pas. 

She relies on nature as a wellspring for inspiration for her art and as a guide for sustainable art practices. Staying open and reciprocal with Mother Earth, and all of the factors that affect her; can be seen expressed throughout Frances’ work. 

Frances has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Manitoba and western Canada. Her work can be found in public and personal art collections. 

Frances’ art practice is primarily studio-based. She strives to let every emotion and experience that is represented be authentically what it is within the timeframe, context, and state of being, while being true to the nature of the medium at hand. Her goal is to connect with her audience, to create pieces that are enjoyable and thought-provoking. Frances has many roles and jobs within this life, but creativity is her calling within this life; and she believes it can enrich our beings, on every platform, by actively engaging in that creativity. 

Kristy Janvier is born and raised in Flin Flon and is of Dene (English River First Nation) and of mixed European descent. At the age of 18, she began working overseas as a professional actress/dancer. After 15 years of working in the entertainment industry with Disney, Kristy returned to Canada relying on her presence/meditation practice to guide her work. Performances are influenced by improvisation yet structured from personal stories incorporating images, installation, sound recording, and/or video. 

In addition to her performance work, Kristy has been sewing beadwork since 2018. Sales from her beadwork, Secret_Life_of_Beads, go towards funding her family’s bush cabin started in 1934 for future generations. 

Past Highlights: 

She had an opportunity to explore her research on water, the rivers, bloodlines, and healing with the support of the Young Lungs Dance Exchange in Winnipeg (winter 2016-17). Her first solo work “Forest Floor” showed at Free Flow/Saskatoon (Sept ’17), Weesageechak Begins to Dance/Toronto (Nov ’17), Nocturne/Halifax (Oct ’18), and Nextfest/Edmonton (June ’19). The video work from the E|MERGE artist residency at Earthdance, Massachusetts (Feb ’18) has screened at 5 film festivals in Canada. Her current solo work, Hide, has been supported by the Made in BC Re-Centering/Margins Creative Residency (2019) and shared in Edmonton (Feb’20) at the Expanse Festival. 

She has toured as an invited guest with Dancers of Damelahamid with Flicker (Oct-Nov’17) and the national and international premiere of Mînowin (Sept-Nov ’19). She has also worked with Raven Spirit Dance in The Gift (2019), presented solo work at IndigDIV (2019) and Confluence (2020). 

Tess Ray Houston is a multimedia Manitoba-based Artist and Creative Freelancer who uses their special interest and past experience in photography and makeup design to capture and illustrate moments that characterize the daily motion of their life. Tess oftentimes applies mixed mediums throughout their body of work, as it reflects the very nature of their mixed blood heritage. Mixed experiences are oftentimes contradicting, yet the fine line that lies in between this shared narrative that carries honourable and painful truths for many. Today, Tess resides in the heart of their homeland, looking to partner with fellow creatives in exploring life’s odysseys. 

Lita Fontaine is of Dakota, Anishinaabe, and Metis ancestry. Her mother Rose Anne Fontaine’s band affiliation is Long Plain, her father’s, Sagkeeng First Nation. Fontaine was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, and grew up in Winnipeg’s North End. Ever since childhood, Fontaine always enjoyed the act of creation like drawing, building, sewing, and collecting recyclables. 

During Fontaine’s late twenties, the creative urge to become an artist became quite strong. Being a single mother at the time she decided to return to school and enrolled in the University of Manitoba’s School of Art in the Diploma program where she developed and hone her skills and abilities in drawing and black and white photography. She later pursued higher education at the University of Regina, Visual Arts Faculty where she attained a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) specializing in Inter-media and, as some may know as Mixed–media. 

Fontaine’s practice is predominately studio based and her methodology in the area of arts education is hands-on, where creative processes play an integral role in learning. Fontaine believes the visual arts acts as a catharsis that nourishes emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual growth while making art. 

Stay updated on the program and the artists’ work and upcoming programming on MAN’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 


From Within is an exhibition of works by artists Frances Cooper (metis), Annie Courchene (Anishinaabe), Tess Ray Houston (Cree) and Kristy Janvier (Dene), whose artwork reflects the Land as a foundational base within their own creative processes.

Indigenous perspectives are reflected through dance, beadwork, photography and assemblages.

This work has emerged from the Indigenous Rural Arts Mentorship Program, provided by MAWA and Manitoba Arts Network under the mentorship of artist and educator Lita Fontaine, whose artwork is also featured.

From Within – by the the Mîcêt Tipiskâwi-pîsimak Collective

May and June 2022

Zoom Launch Saturday, May 28th at 1:00 PM

Facilitated by: Yvette Cenerini

Yvette Cenerini (née Lagimodière) is a franco-Métis visual artist from Manitoba who lives and works in Winnipeg. Having obtained both a BEd (2001) and a BFA (2010), knowledge-sharing in the forms of teaching, mentoring, cultural mediation and community engagement is important in her practice.

Join here:

In-person: August 25 – October 15, 2022, at AGSM Community Gallery, Brandon

with a September 22, 2022 reception ( for details)

Media contact:

Nicole Shimonek
Visual Arts Coordinator,
Manitoba Arts Network

T: (204) 943-0036

Sarah Brereton
Program Coordinator,
Manitoba Arts Network

T: (204) 943-0036