Anishinaabe artist helps design Canadian Olympic curling uniforms

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When Canada’s curling teams hit the ice at the Beijing Olympics next February, Patrick Hunter can point the uniforms at his TV and say, “Hey, I designed them.

Hunter, an Anishinaabe artist from Red Lake, Ont., Collaborated with designer Kevin Hurrie to create Canada’s new set of uniforms, which was unveiled on Tuesday.

“I’m happier that I don’t have to keep this big secret anymore,” Hunter said in an interview with Windspeaker.com, adding that the design has been a secret since the summer.

The uniforms are in keeping with the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 83, which calls on “Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process ”.

“They represent exactly what our sport and our country are,” said Katherine Henderson, CEO of Curling Canada, of the designs. “They send positive messages of inclusion and our athletes should be proud to wear them. The Canadian uniform is emblematic of curling and I can’t wait to see our teams wear it.

Hunter said he made “the most organic piece of art you see on the jersey,” while Hurrie helped put all of the design elements together to create the final product. The uniforms are made by Dynasty Curling, an Aboriginal company based in Manitoba.

On the front of the jersey, Hunter has included silhouettes of seven trees, representing the Grandfather’s Seven Teachings sacred to the Anishinaabe people: love, humility, wisdom, bravery, honesty, truth and the respect.

On the sides of the uniforms, Hunter put four eagle feathers to represent each member of a curling team. On the sleeves, it included braided sweet grass, woven from cedar leaves, tobacco and sage. On the back and shoulders, a large maple leaf completes the look.

“I’m not going to lie. It’s a pretty proud moment, ”said Hunter. “I think it will be even better when I can see them at the Olympics… It’s a crazy feeling.”

Hunter said the majority were designed inside his mother’s house in Red Lake on a trip this summer, and he hopes the design will provide “as much positive energy as possible for Canadian players.”

Hunter, who has worked with brands such as RBC and BMO, Ernst & Young, CTV and Global Affairs Canada, was recognized earlier this year with the design of a mask for Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-André Fleury.

Hunter said this was his first time designing a team uniform, however.

“It’s pretty original, because I’ve never done this before,” Hunter said. “I kind of went and did what I’m doing and I was hoping it was working. And luckily, it has resonated with people across Canada so far.

Hunter said that during the design process he found a reason to watch curling more and wanted to join a team himself.

“I want to be [more involved]”said Hunter.” I’ve never really been this big in the sport growing up. I’m going to actively try and get into curling a bit more now. I make jerseys for Olympic sports teams… so I should. probably get started.

Curling fans will get an answer this weekend on exactly who Hunter’s job will be about, with the men’s and women’s finals set for the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials this Sunday in Saskatoon.

Outside of the Olympics, the uniforms will be worn by Canadian teams at the World Junior Curling Championships as well as the World Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships in 2022.

Hunter said his personal growth as an artist has helped him by recognizing his connection to personal identity.

“Success really happened for me a few years ago when I got real who I was with as a person,” Hunter said. “I was trying to hide this stuff for a while, being Native and being gay as well. And then it wasn’t until I really got into those two things that I started working because I was a niche and different.

Hunter would pass on similar advice to other artists who might have a hard time embracing their identities,

“Your culture is cool. Who you are as a person is cool, ”he said. “Try to infuse that into your work, and I guarantee you success will come.”

Windspeaker.com


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