MEDIUM: Birchbark Canoe Maker
LOCATION: Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin
It was at a young age that Valliere first fell in love with art. His father led him, encouraging Valliere to use recycled paper to draw. Later, he matched his love of art with his interest in Ojibwe traditions and culture. Today, he creates a variety of traditional art, including birch bark, canoes, drums, paintings, carvings, cradle boards, Ojibwe language materials, flutes, antler horn carvings, and spears and arrows.
"The greatest blessing I have as a Native artist is having the opportunity to be in the forest harvesting materials. It keeps me in balance with her as well as remembering the teaching of my elders." - Wayne Valliere
"The power of his artwork comes from the fact that it fuses material culture, traditional knowledge, language, and spiritual life. In this regard, Wayne is not only involved in the making of beautiful art objects, but rather using these objects as a way to strenghten and grow the Anishinaabe way of life in our community." - Gisele Zenti, Nominator
But much of his time is spent working side-by-side with youth, including constructing traditional canoes and winter lodges, all in an effort to perpetuate traditions that have stood on the brink of extinction.