Young Indigenous artist shares talents through unique note cards
Following her parents’ example, Zoey Ward is using her creative spirit to spread joy and awareness, this holiday season and all year long.
Zoey is an eight-year-old Indigenous artist of Cree descent, who attends Lord Strathcona Public School, and has begun selling her paintings as greeting cards. Her parents are two well-known Kingston artists behind W.C. Creatives, Jaylene Cardinal and Dakota Ward.
Zoey got the idea to sell her art as notecards while visiting the Katarokwi Indigenous Art & Food Market in Springer Market Square, where her parents had a stall selling their own works. She was chatting with Georgina Riel, of Riel Cultural Consulting, who is an organizer of the market.
When Zoey showed her a Facebook picture of a holiday painting she had done, Riel loved it — so much so that she asked Zoey if she could print her paintings on note cards, so she could send them to clients, family, and friends with a very important written message about who Zoey is and the importance of buying local and supporting Indigenous artists.
“I asked her mom to create a business name and page for her, to encourage other businesses and friends to shop with her. Her cards are for any occasion and can be written in any language as long as they provide the text. She designs and paints her own creations,” explained Riel.
Having practised her art since she was six years old, Zoey shared that she is especially interested in Indigenous styles of art, and that she identifies as Cree. Though relatively new to the Kingston area, having moved to Kingston from Alberta in 2019, the creative family have certainly already made their mark on their new home — and a colourful mark, at that!
Zoey said that she likes creating her artworks, “Because it makes me happy. And because it makes me be creative.” She also shared that she feels her painting helps to connect her to her Cree heritage.
Zoey said she would encourage other kids to get involved in art, as well, “because they can put a lot of work into it and they put their stories into the art.”
She also thinks its important that people buy local products at Christmas time to support families and learn more about their culture and heritage, and to make sure that when purchasing Indigenous arts and crafts, those items are made by actual Indigenous people.
“I think it’s important because they put their time and their heritage into it,” she expressed.
Zoey’s parents are the artistic minds behind both W.C. Creatives Modern Native Jewellery, Fashion, Arts, and a seasonal store at Fort Henry when the fort is open. You can also visit them online on Facebook. There is still time to contact them if you want some of Zoey’s unique art cards for the holiday season.