Nikki Manzie is re-emerging. In her early 20’s she spent 2 years working as a professional artist, painting by commission and being represented in a gallery in Ottawa. She became a mom at age 21 and again at 22. By 23, she became a single mother and let go aspirations to work professionally as an artist. She knew, however, she would return to it. At 45, the land became her teacher. In strict, patient and sometimes harsh lessons, her experience with the land peeled back curtains from her eyes to reveal privilege and blindness to her responsibility to the land, spirits, ancestors, and to the People’s whose lands she lives upon. Reorienting herself has been uncomfortably slow, difficult, and humbling, with a lot of backward learning. However, this has also become the main focus of her work as an artist and craftsperson.
At 51, I began to research and write about traditional folklore and art practices of my Ukrainian ancestors. Seasonal & life rites and folk medicine inform my teaching and emerging professional art & craft practice. Whether mentoring or creating, I work in ceremony, with prayer and intention. I hope to inspire relational living – to the land we live and walk upon; to each other; and to spirits, ancestors, and traditions. In particular, my work is oriented within the question: how do I respectfully root Ukrainian sacred knowledge and traditions (which includes the crafts that I practice) in a land where I am guest?