The Jay Bell Redbird Indigenous Arts Pavilion

The Jay Bell Redbird Indigenous Arts Pavilion showcases a group of professional and aspiring Indigenous artists. The participating artists will share their art, stories, music, creative process, demonstrations, singing and more.

The Art Pavilion was founded in 2017 by Jay Bell Redbird (1967-2019) who was a leader, outstanding artist, great friend and community visionary. Jay passed away suddenly on Sunday June 9, 2019, a terrible loss for all of us. Jay’s vision and Maada’ookii Collaborative Art and Culture Community Project of teaching and promoting Indigenous artists in art festivals across Canada was just starting to blossom. Artfest, Halina Stoprya (Jay’s loving partner) and the First Nations artists have made the decision to dedicate the Pavilion to Jay in recognition of his passion, leadership and commitment. It will be called the Jay Bell Redbird Indigenous Arts Pavilion. The pavilion will carry on at Artfest and grow into what Jay had imagined.

Jay Bell Redbird (1967-2019)

Jay Bell Redbird (1967-2019)

By David R. Maracle

My friend Jay Bell Redbird was a man that one would never forget after being in his presence a tall handsome and charming Indigenous man. he always came across as one who LIVED life to the fullest and in the moment, as if tomorrow might never come! With paintbrush in hand he would carefully apply the beautiful colors of the spirit world to the canvas with knowledge of his ancestral heritage!!! it was something that Jay took very seriously. Jays passion was to highlight our indigenous peoples incredible gifts, our traditional ways and our legends.

With each stroke of the brush, it seemed Jays hands were guided by the ancient ones was always exciting to see the incredibly talented artist mind of Jay Bell Redbird. He would bring to life on canvas the very essence of our Indigenous peoples stories and legends of this country. He was not just an ordinary artist, but a man who could bring out the best in others with his large and genuine personality. There was Never a dull moment, or a time that you wouldn’t see people standing with him, without a smile or a belly laugh when in the presence of Jay Bell Redbird.

I believe his second gift was his boyish charm and the ability to lift the the spirits of those who came in contact with him. I feel he was a healer of spirits, his Indigenous name was Medicine Wind... I remember the day Jay took me to see the new house that he and his partner Halina had purchased in Cape Breton; he was so proud of that home, and they were planning an amazing life; they were gonna make magic happen there.

All I could see around the house was canvases, paint brushes, stones, bones and wood all waiting for the hand of the artist to transform them into being !!! Jay and Halina had a passion for greatness and growing fast in the fine art industry, together they had quite the following which was not a surprise!!!

Jay had quite a strong bond with his father Duke Redbird The Artist/ poet/elder and wisdom keeper!!!! Jay talked often of Duke as a great inspiration in his life. Jay always talked about his family, his beautiful sisters with such love and always made me and kimberly feel like a family member when with him.

...Jay loved attention and being photographed lol being in nature we would see lots of posts of him hugging a tree or sitting beside a waterfall or stuck in a natural landscape enjoying the moment. he would always have a huge smile on his face and was in his element when he was close to nature and with his friends he loved and cherished.

I believe that when we see a beautiful sunrise or sunset, it always will remind me that Jay will be Jay hanging his new originals in the sky for all to see and enjoy, and he would want us all to continue to celebrate life like no tomorrow, to follow our dreams. I will raise a toast to his new home and Art Gallery as he paints the skies. Till we meet again MAGIC MAN.”

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This project was funded in partnership with Artfest, RTO9 Regional Tourism, Celebrate Ontario and private contributors.

2019 Jay Bell Redbird Indigenous Arts Pavilion

Exhibiting Artists: Halina Stoprya, Naomi Smith, David Maracle, Don Jabokwoam, Brent Hardisty, Loretta Gould, Nazanni Bell, Chipewan McMimmon. Please watch for updates.