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Indigenous artist carries on father's legacy in the Sault

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Lucia Laford, an Indigenous artist and daughter of famed Woodland Artist, John Laford, is painting a mural, titled Fish Lodge, across from the Birdo Horse mural behind The Art Hub, a recently opened local gallery on Queen Street.

The artist took up the mural at the request of another local artist and a good friend, Tom Sinclair.

Her father, whom passed in 2021, taught her to paint in the traditional Woodland style.

Laford has been an Indigenous art educator for the last five years teaching at elementary and secondary schools, youth camps, cultural camps and most recently at Algoma University.

She was born in Sault Ste. Marie, however she lived in the Greater Toronto Area for two decades before returning to her hometown last year to be closer to her family.

Laford works on the mural in the evenings after finishing work with Thrive Tours, an Indigenous ecotourism company, during the day.

Marnie Stone and Adrian Vilaca, co-owners of The Art Hub provided the space on their wall for the mural.

A local artist, David Beckett, and downtown business Paint & Decor Concepts are supplying the paint for the mural.

Ladord wants to educate through her painting of the Fish Lodge mural.

In the mural, the fish are depicted in the sky as creatures who study the stars, while two circles represent the sun and the moon. The lower section of the mural represents the earth, the bark and the sand, the colour that comes from natural grounds. With depicitions of strawberry and blueberry plants growing on each side.

Sharing that her father brought people together through his art, Laford wants to carry that on.

Laford will be teaching Anishinaabe Art and Material Practices at Algoma University this fall, a course she taught with her late father last year before his passing.

“I can’t wait to teach in the fall. I look forward to meeting all my future students.” Laford exclaimed in a Facebook post.

Laford recently wrote about her father saying, “I will take all that you taught me about art and life and share it with my future students.” 

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