Sheldon Pierre Louis, a member of the Okanagan/Syilx Nation, is a multi disciplinary Okanagan/Syilx Artist. Sheldon’s ancestral roots have influenced his works in painting, drawing, carving, and sculpting. Sheldon sits on the board of directors for the Arts Council of the North Okanagan in his second term as well sits at the Board for the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives. His work has been published in the Arts and Council Guide for the North Okanagan 2016 and 2017. Sheldon is a recipient of the First Peoples Cultural Council’s, Emerging Artist Development Award for 2015. He is a co-founder and the lead visual artist of the Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective & is a member of Ullus Collective, both groups based in Syilx Art. As a member of the Re-Think 150: Indigenous Truth Collective Sheldon has worked on a youth mural in conjunction with the Kelowna Secondary School’s Honours Art 12 class.
Sheldon has mentored as an artist, under his Father Gerald Louis for most of his life & has also mentored under Barb Marchand, both multi disciplinary Syilx/Okanagan artists. Through Ullus Collective Sheldon has exhibited his works at the “Eco tone Festival of the Arts 2014” at the Kelowna Rotary Centre for the Arts & “k’wansxixmentem i? sck’lq’aq’y’tet – Showing Our Artwork” at the Enowkin Centre in Penticton, BC. As a member of the Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective Sheldon has exhibited with the Vernon Public Art Gallery and Gallery Vertigo. Sheldon has many pieces of work in private collections, some as far as Australia & New Zealand. One of his most prominent works is on permanent display as a public art installation in the Kelowna General Hospital, a honour which was brought forth by Interior Health Association & Okanagan Nation Alliance. His Fine Art can also be found on the walls of University of British Columbia Okanagan, Sheldon’s most prized piece of work is the “Ceremonial Mace of University of British Columbia Okanagan” which is a hand carved wood piece, that is carried in con-vocational ceremony every year at the University, this piece now sits on display through out the year at UBCO in the administrations building. Sheldon continues to spend his time creating pieces of work that convey the beauty of the Syilx/Okanagan Peoples history & culture.
Sheldon has mentored under renouned mural artist Michelle Loughery, as an youth participant in the Down Town Vernon Mural Project 2001. He is now a member of Ullus Collective and Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective, as a member of Kama Sheldon has mentored under Barb Marchand, a professional inter disiplinary artist/arts educator. While mentoring within the Kama? Collective, Sheldon has taken on the leadership role in visual arts. Sheldon has curated three exhibitions, with Gallery Vertigo and Vernon Public Art Galery. Sheldon has worked amongst the Okanagan communities as a artist for a number of years, among his accomplishments are working with the Okanagan Elders to create/carve the convocational mase for UBC Okanagan, work with Okanagan Nation Alliance and Interior Health Authority to create a perminent art installation for Kelowna General Hospital and has exhibited his art works with Enowkin Centre, Lake Country Gallery, Arts Council of the Central Okanagan, The Kelowna Rotarty Centre for the Arts, Gallery Vertigo, and Vernon Public Art Gallery.
Sheldon has been awarded the Emerging Artist Award for 2015 from FPCC where he returned to the land and learned traditional practices of working with animal hides. The body of work Sheldon created involved the meeting of traditional medium with contemporary styles. Through the production of moose raw hide Sheldon created raw hide sculptures depicting traditional stories as well as a raw hide canvas depicting two traditional hereditary Chiefs from the Southern Okanagan Territory. It was through this project that Sheldon found his calling as an Syilx artist. Sheldon has now utilized the history and traditional stories (Captikʷɬ) to inspire and create his own unique Syilx/Okanagan style of art.
Through the 2016 FPCC Youth Engagement Award, Sheldon worked within his home community at Okanagan Indian Band, engaged and mentored 4 Okanagan Indian Band youth in the creation of a large community mural situated at the Okanagan Indian Band’s Health Centre. An integral part of this mural project was returning to the land while reconnecting the Okanagan Indian Band youth with Elders from the community. The youth were also involved with engaging the communities outside of the reservation, creating a smaller public art installation as part of the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s annual youth inspired art event “Riot on the Roof”.
Sheldon has curated a number of exhibitions for Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective through the Vernon Public Art Gallery and Gallery Vertigo. Sheldon was invited to curate a exhibition in Castlegar at the Kootenay Arts Gallery and has been invited back again to curate another exhibition in 2020 for the Kootaney Arts Gallery and the Oxygen Gallery in Nelson.
Sheldon’s passion for working with the youth has stemmed from the years when he was a youth, there was in the past a lack of mentorship for the youth so with this in mind Sheldon understood the need to use his gift to inspire and mentor the youth of the new generation. Sheldon spent much time mentoring under a number of local artists, it is through these opportunities where Sheldon has came to realize the need for youth mentorship with in his community, the Okanagan Indian Band and the Okanagan Nation. Being surrounded by artists and recieving guidance and mentorship Sheldon knows first hand the importance and effects of having the strong people in a youth’s life. Over the years Sheldon has tutored, taught, and mentored youth from his own and surrounding communities, the inspiration that is developed is on both sides, the youth and the artist. Sheldon has now grown into not just an artistic leader but also a community leader.