Ovila Mailhot is a Coast Salish graphic artist, originally from Seabird Island reservation in British Columbia, whose roots are both of Sto:lo & Nlaka’pamux Nation. Ovila notes that creating new work and revitalizing the techniques and approaches to Indigenous art is something he feels compelled to do. Ovila’s parents both share a creative streak and love for art. His father spent time with the mediums of painting and illustrating, while his mother focused on writing.
In his own words, Ovila shares that,
“Art feels vital to me. And being able to share that passion I have, is very special to me. This tradition of work, and this beauty, is so necessary for our culture & for healing.
My work must carry some level of simplicity; it must not obscure itself. That’s the tradition I’ve inherited. My work is meant to add to a continuum within a culture so rich and expansive that it still hasn’t been fully actualized or received by mainstream culture.
My father painted, and often spent time illustrating how necessary these bold symbols and colors were to our people. My mother spent so many nights writing poetry, memoirs, and essays to convey how loved my siblings and I were, and that we had a tough journey ahead, but that our traditions and the lessons we received would carry us through.
I started doing graphic art in 2014, because I felt I couldn’t do anything else. I believe that’s the beauty of lineage, that it’s in my blood, to keep moving forward & keep creating. I want to contribute and make spaces for the next generation of artists. It’s such a privilege to share my work with everyone through NoMiNoU.”
As a Coast Salish graphic artist I am very proud to be a part of NOMINOU Designs. Nominou has given me the opportunity to share my art with everyone. And have also made me feel really comfortable in the production as to where I didn’t have to worry about any jeopardizing the integrity of the art I wanted to share. With great support and generous compensation I am very excited to continue being able to share my art & continue collaborating work with NOMINOU. Thank you!
– Ovila Mailhot