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Down and Out - City Living by AaronPaquette Down and Out - City Living by AaronPaquette
From the "Halfbreed Mythology" show guide:

As stated by Paul Smith, Aaron Paquette's paintings "illustrate moments of connection and conflict, both individual and communal". Such moments are perfectly expressed in the painting, 'Down and Out - City Living'. In this work Paquette connects with both his cultural heritage and the places, both emotional and physical, he finds himself in.

Paquette's heritage is expressed through the elements of the raven, the Norse snake, and the First Nation's decorative pattern in the foreground of the work.

The "places" the artist finds himself in are also expressed in this painting. Aaron Paquette is an urban-dweller, and in this work the city is symbolised by the light standard and the graffiti wall. How the artist might feel about this place, and the situation faced by many First Nations/Metis peoples in the city, is movingly portrayed by the raven. Slumped in the foreground of the work, the raven is physically distanced from the symbols representing the city. The use of the complementary colours of orange and blue to separate these elements reinforces this physical distance and may reflect emotional dislocation as well. At present there are approximately 3000 homeless people in Edmonton alone, many of whom are of First Nations heritage. The figure of the raven, normally a powerful First Nations symbol, here sitting bedraggled and smoking a cigarette, functions as an evocative statement on this disturbing situation.

-thanks to Shane Golby
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UrbanFurest Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2010
Love this! even in the city, life will happen. Proud to be Metis!
ribbeh Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2009
It is depressing to see Raven like this, the proud trickster trapped in city slums. Yet I wouldn't give up on him yet.
UrbanFurest Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2010
I would think a trickster would be at home in the city.
ribbeh Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2010
Ravens tend to live out in the 'wild', or at least on the outskirts. Also, what do understand trickster to mean?
UrbanFurest Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2010
Trickster as the archetype that is most adaptable to adverse conditions, often with active persecution. The most successful 'wild' animals in the urban environment are often depicted as trickers in folk lore, such as foxes, coyotes, raccoons or in this case ravens (corvids "crow kind" in general).
ribbeh Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2010
Interesting take on it. Crows are the more successful in urban environments, though; the common raven not so much. Not to mention that tricksters often outdate urban environments.
UrbanFurest Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2010
Being from the Southeast US, and out of the native range of ravens, I have no experiences with them. What you mean by "outdate"? This is a fav subject of mine as I study the interaction between the "civilized" world and the wild, in the context of the WUI "wild-urban interface".
ribbeh Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2010
The trickster is found in many cultures, dating far back, before the concept of a city was ever conceived. Tricksters and ravens are two of my favourite subjects, as is the "uncivilized" world. Opposite sides of the same coin, mayhaps?
cybernetichero Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2009
kasblue Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2009
the symbolism might be cultural but the feeling is almost universal. i live in a city miles and miles away from where you live... but life still feels the same.
glunac Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2009   General Artist
It is a disturbing image, too much realism behind the imagery.
AaronPaquette Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2009  Professional General Artist
Good comment.
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  • Photo


Submitted on
January 19, 2009
Image Size
9.2 MB


21 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/130 second
Focal Length
6 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Nov 25, 2008, 11:28:28 AM