• By: Anne Dion

Our Home and Native Landscape

Jennifer Adomeit never planned on becoming an artist. The Canadian-born art enthusiast is an elementary school teacher whose artwork, to her great surprise, has found nation-wide fame.

Adomeit grew up in Northern British Colombia with no Indigenous ancestry but surrounded by First Nations art and culture. With an innate interest in art and creative expression, she developed a fascination with the intricate and striking designs of the local First Nations people at an early age. Adomeit was never destined to become an artist by trade, but her interest in the architecture of traditional Canadian artwork never left her.

Ten years ago, Adomeit had the chance to explore this artistic inspiration in a First Nations Art class she took while attending UNBC. The result was her painting entitled Our Home And Native Land which has since brought Adomeit well-deserved celebrity. The course’s final project was assigned with instructions to create an art piece inspired by the topic “synchronous dichotomous.” As a geography major studying the political and social impact of borders on various groups of people, the theory behind “Our Home and Native Land” began to take shape.

The painting is a map of Canada. But unlike any usual map, the surface of each province or territory is covered by that province or territory’s representational animal, painted in the traditional Indigenous designs that Adomeit grew up fascinated by.

“This ‘map’ of Canada illustrates the synchronous, intricately connected relationship that First Nations People have with their land.” explains Adomeit. The Greek origin of the term dichotomy means “to divide in two”. “Our Home and Native Land” shows how arbitrary the imposed provincial and territorial borders were on the Indigenous people’s lifestyle, how interfering with and separating them from their traditional lands is embedded in our nation’s fabric.

“‘Our Home and Native Land’ can also be seen as a celebration of our country’s true heritage.” Adomeit continues: “It serves as a reminder that we need to learn more about the culture and history of the Indigenous people in our country and help to protect the land which they so greatly rely upon. And of course, we should remember where our home and native land actually came from.”

After the explosion of popularity for her first piece, Jen Adomeit began working on her second piece, “The Spirit of BC.” The painting is a close-up of British Colombia’s surface, it’s outline filled in with a more detailed version of that in “Our Home and native Land.”

“British Columbia’s representative animal is a Spirit Bear”, explains Adomeit, “I feel that this is the perfect animal to represent this province since the Indigenous people in BC, their art, culture, and history are such an integral part of the ‘spirit’ of our diverse province.”

Despite her success, Adomeit has no plans to take her art further. She answers inquiries about creating commissioned paintings or other artwork in the Northwest Coast style by passing on the names of talented BC First Nations artists who she believes deserve the work more than she does.

“As much as I love this style of art, there are so many talented First Nations artists out there who could do a much more beautiful and authentic job than I ever could. I was happy to be given the opportunity to create ‘Our Home and Native Land’ and have been overwhelmed by the positive response it has received.”

For the time being, she is happy as an elementary school teacher and living outside of the spotlight. However, “As far as the future goes, I am always looking for creative projects to take part in and am looking into doing more collaborative projects with local First Nations artists.”

For more on Jennifer Adomeit and her artwork, visit www.jenadomeit.com