Her name, Iniskimaki, given by Elder Tom Crane Bear of the Blackfoot Siksika Nation, means Sacred Buffalo Stone Woman.
Iniskimaki, better known to the Durham College community as Janice Tanton, graduated from the Graphic Design program in 1985 and went on to become an entrepreneur. Tanton has had her artwork displayed with more than 800 galleries and retailers and has licensed her work for collector plates and clothing for Northern Reflections. At first she found it difficult for her art to be pure creation and still appeal to the demands of the market.
“That raw sensibility and passion of the soul finds its way through a work to a viewer and moves him or her,” says Tanton. “If you are creating for any other reason, you’re in the wrong line of work.”
In addition to being an artist, Tanton also works as program manager for Aboriginal Leadership and Management Development at The Banff Centre. It’s been a busy year for her. She designed Buffalo Lodge, a teepee, for the centre’s 75th anniversary. Governor General Michaëlle Jean attended the traditional transfer ceremony. Tanton also received her Blackfoot name and was part of the Indigenous Deep Listening Project, performing and exhibiting her artwork with her son at the World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education in Melbourne, Australia. She also received an Alumna of Distinction award from Durham College.
When not busy at work or in the studio, she spends considerable time mentoring artists of all experience levels, just as acclaimed wildlife painter Glen Loates mentored her. Tanton also spends time with her children ages four to 16, is involved with their sports, and helps with community organizations.
“I look forward to what exciting opportunities might come in the next few years to allow me to use my gifts for the benefit of mankind. I find that very rewarding.”
Written by Alyscia Sutch
Edited by Lucinda Atwood