Blending culture into art: Tobias Tomlinson

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Art Show in Sidney until Aug. 31.

Tobias Tomlinson is displaying his three art forms — jewelry

This week marks the start of the 8th Annual Invitational First Nations, Inuit and Metis Art Show. Featured in this week’ PNR is artist Tobias Tomlinson who represents the Chickasaw Cherokee Nation.


Early Days

Tobias Tomlinson has been involved in art since he was very little, beginning in pottery and drawing.

“I did pottery when I was like five or six and I did drawings and won little awards for county fair stuff,” he told the PNR.



Some of Tomlinson’s pieces are Chickasaw Cherokee ceremonial bowls used for what’s called smudging.

“Smudging is for ceremonial purposes for cleansing the soul and the body or the space that you’re in.”

Tomlinson said he will do some smudging before the opening of the show to clean the room. He uses smudging to cleanse his house or if he’s getting ready for ceremony.

“I smudge all the rooms in my house whereas if I’m smudging myself I’ll make sure I smudge my eyes to have clear sight or my nose so that I’m breathing well. I may smudge my mouth so I’m speaking clearly.”


The Medicine Wheel

On a lot of Tomlinson’s work is what’s called the Medicine Wheel, which he said is defined by different people in different ways. For some it’s used for health and healing. For settler culture, Tomlinson said it talks about the colours red, black and white, showing a representation of the colours of the people in the world.

“For me, the medicine wheel is having to do with something I do daily, so I get up in the morning, I have food, so that’s the beginning of accepting medicine of the land around me.”

He then goes through his day doing his work, and in the evening goes to settle down, later going to sleep, which shows four parts of the medicine wheel.


Wide range of work

It’s not just pottery work for Tomlinson. The multi-faceted artist also designs jewelry and weaves.

He will be doing a weaving demonstration at the 8th annual Invitational First Nations, Inuit and Metis Art Show beginning this week.


Work for sale

Tomlinson’s work is available for purchase on the peninsula at the Brentwood Bay Resort and Spa and other locations on the island.

People can find him through the Island Artisans Association at


Show details

The 8th Annual show began on Monday with its opening ceremonies and will run until Aug. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Mary Winspear Centre’s room 2.

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