Daphne Odjig

The other day I met with a professor at my university. I was very thankful that he set aside some time to meet with me, as professor are busy all year round. I had a great talk with him about things I wanted to do with my degree and some of the things I was interested in at the moment. I also told him that I was being commissioned to do a painting for a documentary. This opportunity I am very thankful for as well. He then shared with him that he was friends with Daphne Odjig. This is a lady whose work I had just seen the week before. Her work was being featured at a near by gallery called “Gallery Indigena” located in Stratford Ontario. I remember looking at her work and I noticed that it looked like a Picasso Style. He then proceeded to tell me that she was one of the few artists (actually 1 out of 4 in the entire world) that was asked to do a memorial painting in honor of Picasso. The only word I could think of at that time was: Amazing!

And you know what, that is amazing because I didn’t know this and probably not too many do. He also shared that she wasn’t all that “big” in Canada until recently. It’s a shame that artists don’t get noticed until “later.” Ms. Daphne is still living, but as he told me “very sick.” All I can say to that is, I am thankful to hear about all of this while she is still here. It is great because she is female and she is First Nations and she is from Wikiwemikong, Ontario. There are sooooooo many great First Nations people (not just First Nations females) to be proud of and I wish the rest of Canada knew about them or at least more people…not just Canada.

Anyways, I am writing this post to share to the rest of the world about something I am proud of: being an artist, female, and First Nations.

And to also share with the rest of the world, the lovely work and a great great great accomplishment of a First Nations Female who was born right here in Ontario.

You can check out her bio and some of her work at Art History Archive and some of her work at the Gallery in Stratford, Ontario online at Gallery Indigena.


Following the advice from my sister Alicia Sayers, she stated “…follow a news story, really learn about instead of just today’s headlines…” I thought about which one I wanted to follow and really get to know for a while. There were/are two stories that I particularly wanted to pay attention to and I am sure there is no harm in paying attention to both of them at the same time. One of them is in Canada and another is a totally different part of the world. But what makes me interested in these two areas/stories is the fact that I have a friend living in both parts: Nunavut and Yemen.

Since the recent news stories I have seen on various news sites, I have decided to start off with Yemen and learn more about the situation over there. To start off this journey right, I decided to ask my friend what is like over there because 1) I actually really do want to know more about my friend’s life and what is like for her 2) I want to really get to know other parts of the world. I know that nothing beats real experience and actually going to go visit the region, but with my student budget/expenses, I am not sure how that would happen… So I thought about doing a little Q and A with my friend, Nura.

Nura is from Yemen and we met each other in Psychology? or Political Science? Either way, we had the same two classes together. I really enjoyed meeting her and the conversations I had with her because she provided me with a different perspective on things. The one thing that she did teach me was that I walked too fast and since then I decided to slow down 😉

I want others to know that KweToday is not just about Aboriginal female experiences but experiences of other females that I have met along the way. Females that I have met and I consider to be positive, influential/opinionated, and strong!

Nura, tell me a bit about yourself. Things like where you are from; how you decided to come to The University of Western Ontario (UWO); why you chose UWO; your family:

Well my name is Nura, I am from Yemen, current political science student at UWO
I was born in Canada and lived there for a couple of years before my family decided to move to Yemen. So my plan, since I was a child, was to go back to Canada, get a good degree and come back to the Middle East to contribute to the society in some way.
I Chose UWO as it is known for its social science faculty.
My family is staying back in Yemen, my mom has an NGO that focuses on capacity building, she just loves what she’s doing over there, and loves Yemen as well . And my dad has always been supporting her in that. My brother has the same plan as I did, about coming back to Canada for his university studies, but I don’t know whether he would come back to the Middle East.

Can you describe what is going on in Yemen right now for the readers?

Yemen is going through a crisis of some sort. Whatever that is going on might eventually end in a civil war. The conflict is between the president (government), the Islamists and a tribe called “Alahmar.” The last two want to power to themselves even though the government always supported them, and gave them what the wanted. The system is so corrupted that they all turned into enemies. The protesters are victims in between. They don’t even know what they are protesting for or what their country’s constitution is about (ignorant masses). There are bombings and shootings targeted at either governmental or oppositional cites (but most of the time they hit civilians – “by accident”). The president got injured a couple of days ago, and left the country for treatment – however, he said that he will be back soon.

As a young female today, what is one lesson you learned that you would like to share with other young females?

I would say that I believe that we are all interconnected in some point; this makes the happiness and comfort of others essential for our own. So as an alive human being, its to our nature to contribute something for the betterment of the societies that we are living in.

Any advice for young females who decide to pursue a post secondary education?

I would say that the more you think critically about what you are studying, and how it would benefit both you and the society, the more motivated you will become.

What was the greatest hurdle you have overcome since coming to UWO? Since going back to Yemen?

Whenever I return to Yemen from a trip, the inequality between men and women, and the ignorance that is going on in the society shocks me all over again.

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Canada? Education? and why?

  • Canada: (somewhat) peaceful country – maybe because everyone is minding their own business, and don’t step into each other’s lives as much.
  • Education: necessary – it’s an important tool that we need in order to investigate and figure out our physical and social reality, and its one the points that distinguishes us from other living organisms.

Thanks to my friend Nura for taking the time to answer these few questions I had for her.

Maclean’s Magazine Article: Underacheiving Boys

Today, sitting at the doctor’s office, I read a magazine article from Maclean’s titled “Are we raising our boys to be underachieving men? The social and economic consequences of letting boys fall behind.”

Some of the stats from this article include:

  1. On average, boys earn lower marks…
  2. study less…
  3. and are more likely to repeat a grade than girls.
  4. Young men are more likely to drop out of high school…
  5. less likely to graduate university than young women.
  6. They still dominate in engineering and computer science,
  7. Men are outnumbered in most professional programs, including law and medicine.
  8. The average Canadian university campus is 58 per cent female.
  9. At some schools, men only make up about 30 to 35 per cent of the students.

I only had one question after reading this article. It was this, Why don’t they write articles as to why women are still earning less in wages when compared to men, even when the average Canadian university campus is 58% female?