What is your overall experience at OCAD University?
I entered OCAD University as a second year transfer student and mature student after 10 years of focusing on my custom- framing career. I graduated from Cambrian College where I took their 4 year Fine Arts program. I had to make a choice between my career and furthering my education and so, I told myself, “If I get accepted into OCAD University this time, I’m going.” The professors, staff and fellow artists here at OCAD, who I have had the pleasure to meet, have made my decision worthwhile and really amazing.
What made you decide to take a minor in the Indigenous Visual Culture program?
I took Drawing and Painting as my major. I felt that I absolutely needed to take the INVC program because it was vital to my learning as an Anishinaabe artist who is continually searching for my place in each of the communities that I have grown up within. It has been a step in getting to know myself and work through fundamental ideas and beliefs that this program has allowed me to explore in various settings with my peers.
Did you access the INVC Student Services? What did you enjoy most at the INVC Student Centre?
Yes, I did, eventually. It was somewhat intimidating, as I am a shy person, becoming involved in groups or communities. INVC, particularly because it was in a separate building from the main campus was difficult to find. But when I did find it there were a lot of community building functions and activities at the INVC Student Centre.
What I enjoyed most was the organized field trip to the Petroglyphs in Peterborough. I would have liked to join in on the field trips to the Woodland Cultural Centre, but was unable due to my course and work schedules. I also attended the Buffalo
Stew lunches and Bead & Read, which gave a great sense of community. I would have liked to utilize the centre a lot more and take advantage of the Indigenous library.
What is the INVC Student Centre missing or what would be useful for our students?
I would say that I could have benefited from more structuralized cultural teachings and ceremonies such as Sunrise and women's ceremonies or organized outings as a group to attend these functions at other organizations.
What is your favourite memory of participation at INVC?
I really enjoyed the field trip to the Petroglyphs. I thought that it was well organized and having Elder, Edna Manitowabi on the trip made the visit very emotional and healing. All of the events are very inclusive of all OCAD students, staff and faculty, which created an amazing sense of community.
With your experience at OCAD University, what will you be taking with you upon graduation to help you move to your next step?
Not only will I have finally achieved my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and attended the University that I have always wanted to attend, OCAD. I will be taking with me great memories and experiences with professors, staff and fellow students. The way that I was able to delve into my art by working through personal and cultural issues in a safe and supportive environment allowed me to come to many realizations and revelations that I will carry with me.
Katheryn Wabegijig is an Ojibway/Odawa artist belonging to Garden River First Nation/Ketegaunseebee with ancestry in Wikwemikong and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. She grew up in the small mining town of Elliot Lake, Ontario. Katheryn graduated from Cambrian College’s Fine Arts program in 2003 in Sudbury and has had a successful twelve year career in custom framing. Currently, she is graduating from OCAD University's Painting and Drawing program with a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture. She works in printmaking, sculpture/installation, fibre arts, drawing, painting, and other media-based arts. Her research interests include her family, dodems/clan animals, her Anishinaabe name and colours, and repetitive culturally significant design. She continues to explore her personal and cultural education through her art.