By Julia Magsombol 

Local Journalism Initiative 

[email protected]

An upcoming art exhibit in Invermere will give people a deeper understanding of Métis culture and their way of life. 

Sharon Wass, the organizer of the first Métis Pynelogs Art Show, has fond memories of her mother’s functional art while growing up. “I love those. I love the memories and stuff and the designs because it was just sort of whatever was left over from somebody’s clothes, on my mother’s occasional quilt.”

Wass has always admired many Métis art forms and praises the skills of the people in the valley. But she has a deeper appreciation of what these local arts really represent. She noted that Métis people were  semi-nomadic; most of the time, they were on the road for work. 

The first Indigenous peoples were the family of Métis and the First Nation women who allied with them. Wass said they developed their art as time went on.

Wass explained that they wore their art. “They wore it on their mitts, on their moccasins, on their sashes, on their vests. They bead it and make things beautiful that they use every day.” 

Wass noted the materials on these come from natural resources such as porcupine quills and fur. The designs also include bead art. 

“I have locally kind of admired the skill of some of the people here in the valley, so I decided I really wanted to see an art show happening,” Wass said — and so she decided to organize this event, where both traditional artists and contemporary artists co-exist in one art show. 

Wass said the free exhibition is not all beaded arts. There will be music, writings, paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry designs, and much more. The visitors can also buy some of these items. 

“It would be a nice opportunity to feature and promote and bring awareness to the greater community … the talent is here,” said Monica Fisher, president of the Columbia Valley Métis Association.

Wass and Fisher hope the show will be an annual event. “I just want to see a lot of people taking pride and art that they and their family have made for generations,” Wass said. “Come and enjoy a small display of our cultural art.”

The Pynelogs Art Show is available for public viewing during the month of June. It’s located at the cultural centre down by the lake. 

Artists who want to present their work can contact Wass at 250-341-7521 or  [email protected]. For more information, visit: