Lieutenant Governor chooses Island artist for ‘150 Stories’ profile

James Simon Mishibinijima and Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell pose with a copy of ‘150 Stories.’

TORONTO—At an afternoon reception last month at Queen’s Park, the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, unveiled a new book to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation this year.

‘150 Stories’ is a collection of short stories and images “that speak eloquently about what it means to be Canadian in Ontario,” according to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Listed among the participants in the project are public figures in the arts, politics, sports, law, business and academics, names like authors Anne Michaels and Rabindranath Maharaj, chef Jamie Kennedy, former Ontario lieutenant governors such as the Hons. David Onley and James Bartleman, hockey star Bobby Orr, Olympic champion swimmer Penny Oleksiak, singer Gordon Lightfoot, filmmaker Deepa Mehta, playwright RH Thomson, host of CBC’s Writers and Company Eleanor Wachtel and over a hundred others.

Nestled amidst this group is painter James Simon Mishibinijima of Wikwemikong, whom Lieutenant Governor Dowdeswell visited in his studio and art gallery last year during her tour of Northeastern Ontario. Ms. Dowdeswell asked the accomplished artist to be a part of the project involving 150 Ontarians telling a story in 150 words or less, and to include one of his artworks, entitled ‘Thunder Mountain, Tamarack Harbour.’ The painting appeared in the ‘From the Heart of Turtle Island’ exhibition at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in 2015; it can be seen at Debajehmujig’s Creation Centre in Manitowaning, where it is currently on loan.

‘150 Stories’ is “indicative of our spirit as a people,” says the Lieutenant Governor. The small (just 6” square), bilingual book is divided into eight sections, and ‘Arts and Minds’ is where Mishibinijima’s short tale of growing up with 11 siblings in Wikwemikong is featured, along with his mural.

Well-known for his ongoing series entitled ‘Mish Mountains,’ James Simon Mishibinijima has been painting since he was 14-years-old. He has since travelled extensively throughout Europe, where he has gained wide interest and important sales. Now based firmly in his home, studio and gallery in Wikwemikong, the artist welcomes visitors by appointment only to tour his impressive collection of works old and new.

‘150 Stories’ can be viewed in its entirety at http://arts.lgontario.ca/canada150. The book is also given to visitors on guided tours of the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite at Queen’s Park. For information about tour times, see http://www.lgontario.ca/en/visit/pages/tour-the-lieutenant-governors-Suite.aspx

For more information on James Simon Mishibinijima, and to view many paintings in the ‘Mish Mountains’ series, see https://mishmountains.blogspot.ca/. To schedule a visit to Mishibinijima’s studio and gallery, telephone 705-859-3871.