Kenhtè:ke (Tyendinaga) Mohawk Territory
My name is Kory Parkin. I am a proud Kanyen’kéha (Mohawk), that grew up in the small Mohawk Community of Kenhtè:ke (Tyendinaga) Mohawk Territory, Ontario. My artistry journey starts with family. I have two very supportive parents who always supplied me with any tools I needed to pursue my passions and have always been my biggest supporters. My older brother was a huge creative inspiration for me growing up through his art and native crafts. Being the younger sibling, who doesn’t want to be like their big bro!
My love for my culture and artistry grew while attending Quinte Mohawk Public School. It was there where I was first able to really learn more about my Kanyen’kehá:ka community and culture. I was even fortunate to attend a residency program through the Visual Art Department at Queens University in my grade 8 year. Throughout my adolescent years I transitioned more to graphic designs, logos, and other digital art forms primarily for promotional pieces.
Fast forward in time to when I met my beautiful wife. There was short time, before I met her, I had lost touch with my creative side. She, much like my older brother, inspired me to get back at it and try new medias. I took interest in many creative mediums such as photography, acrylic paintings, silk screening, and glass etching. I would combine these with my love for sports and create paintings of my favorite players, silk screen clothing, and create etched glass pieces all incorporating my favorite teams.
Sports was a big part of my life growing up, but I always felt the lack of Indigenous representation; that is the reason I love blending the two together! I wanted to showcase the beauty of Indigenous people's artwork with a more pop culture feel. I created an Indigenous Toronto Blue Jays logo, and it really opened so many doors for me. I’ve been able to work with multiple Toronto Blue Jays athletes, getting them a painting, graphic design, or clothing, whatever they desired from me!
Since then, my supportive community members started taking notice of my work and helped me find new ways to apply my talent. I’ve been fortunate to have a painting showcased within the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, as well as designing logos for Tyendinaga’s LGBTQ2S+ pride month, smoking cessation program, family well-being program, and Six Nations School District logo. Most recently, our community has purchased the Briar Fox Golf Course, and I was put in touch with the new manager from a community council member to rebrand their logo!
So once again my love for art is tied back to family. My wife and I recently celebrated the birth of our first child, Griffin. He has given me so much motivation to keep creating and inspiring others to do the same! It's my hope that by representing my Indigenous roots in things that I am passionate about that it will inspire others to be proud of who they are and follow their dreams as I have. Through my platform, I want give Indigenous people new ways to proudly display who they are, while feeling included and recognized. I hope that I make my son proud of what I've been able to achieve and it inspires him to be the best version of himself while being proud of who he is and where he comes from.
Indigenous Peoples Day Design
Indigenous Proud, to me, is not just about celebrating who you are and your culture, but to understand and respect where you've come from. This is why for my piece I chose to build it around the Kanienkehá:ka creation story.
The story speaks of how the sky woman fell from the sky and was caught by the water birds who brought her to the turtle's back. From there, she used the roots from the Tree of Life she grabbed to create the land we live on today. I chose to include a family (Kahwá:tsire) because to Indigenous peoples, family gives us the strength we need to thrive and prosper as we stand united. The colours I chose were purple, the colour of the Iroquois; red, which represents courage; orange, representing regeneration; lastly, I chose yellow to represent power and wisdom.
I wanted to tell my story in the style of Woodland art because not only is it rich with spiritual imagery and symbolism, it explores the relationships between people, animals, and plants.