Nathalie Coutou

As part of Indigenous History month, Arbor Gallery Cultural Centre in Vankleek Hill is presenting artwork and art clothing by Métis artist Nathalie Coutou. Owner of Wakefield gallery-boutique KHEWA (Khewa.com), Coutou drew her inspiration and love of the arts from French-European father and Mi’kmaq maternal lineage.

In her early 20’s Coutou was blessed to reconnect with her Indigenous heritage through the teachings of Mi’kmaq Elder Stephen Augustine. This began her inspiration to promote a spirit of inclusiveness and reconciliation to further nurture more understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Embracing this fully, she has been creating alliances between Indigenous, Métis, Inuit artists and Canadian partners to promote Indigenous culture. In her gallery-boutique, she narrates ancestral stories, provides art workshops, and facilitates educational events on various cross-cultural realities.

“Our exhibition features only a small part of Nathalie’s rich collection – including three of her stunning original paintings,” explains Sylvie Bouchard, who runs the gallery. “We also present and sell some of her art-clothes and accessories, featuring her original work.”

The exhibition is completed with Inuit carvings from a private collection.

Starting the month-long exhibition, a first special event was held on Saturday, June 11, when Anne Smith from Champlain Library was at the gallery to share and discuss several books relating to the Indigenous History theme. On Saturday, June 18, Nathalie Coutou will converse with guests during a Meet the Artist event, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

“Our vision includes more awareness-raising events about inclusion in the future, and we are grateful that people like Nathalie, Anne and Champlain Library, as well as Champlain Township who approved a grant to sponsor such events, gave us so much help,” Bouchard said.

More collaborations are in the works, including with Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute who are also passionate about promoting inclusion and raising awareness.

Arbor Gallery Cultural Centre is located at 36 Home Avenue, at the heart of Vankleek Hill. Summer hours on Saturdays: 10am to 4pm. Open Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 4pm. More information about programming and events on Arbor Gallery’s Facebook page, website or Twitter, by subscribing to the gallery’s newsletter at www.arborgallery.org or by email at [email protected]