Jessica Winters


The Artist

Jessica Winters is a painter, printmaker, and textile artist from Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, NL. Winters attributes her artistic practice to her family of established craftspeople; her mother and grandmother, Blanche and Nellie Winters, are celebrated textile artists, and her cousin is painter Bronson Jacque.

Winters began her artistic practise by drawing, and quickly developed as a portraitist, selling her first commissioned works at age 13 [1]. Her first set of acrylic paints came from school principal Liz Mitchell, from supplies the school wasn’t using [2]; Winters sold her first acrylic painting at age 15 [3]. Winters has been heavily influenced by her studies in biology, and hopes to use her work to advocate for the preservation of Inuit culture, values and surrounding environment. “My art is trying to get back to the basics and preserve that way of thinking and all things Inuit. I feel like people, especially Inuit people, don’t realize how technologically advanced our traditions actually are . . . like making a kayak out of seal skin. Only we could do that.” [4]

Winters was invited to submit a piece for The Wish 150 Mosaic created by TakingITGlobal in partnership with Fishing for Success. Untitled (Wish 150 Cod Mosaic) (2017) forms the body of the cod, and is composed of strips of sealskin which Winters cut and layered on plywood to form images. Winters depicted aspects of traditional Inuit lifestyle in the piece, such as snow goggles and inuksuit, but included the Hebron church as a specific call to Labrador Inuit [5]. Both in medium and subject matter, Untitled (Wish 150 Cod Mosaic) speaks to the patience and resiliency of Inuit, as well as Winter’s passion for ecology and conservation.

Winters graduated from J. C. Erhardt Memorial School, the name of which she later campaigned to have changed, along with the names of other Nunatsiavut schools named after missionaries [6]. She has written articles for multiple journals, including the IAQ and Inuktitut Magazine. In 2013, Winters was a youth panellist at the Spirit Panel Project: Diversity and Tolerance panel held in St. Johns [7]. She exhibited her works at the 2014 Northern Lights Business and Cultural Showcase in Ottawa. Winters was part of the Arctic Expedition with Students on Ice in 2016, and co-hosted the Transfers: Inuit Printmaking workshop at iNuit Blanche that same year [8]. In 2018, she was commissioned to paint a mural in the Queen Elizabeth II library at Memorial University. She also illustrated an Inuk children’s book, The Christmas Drop, based off of a story told by her grandmother. That year she completed her degree in Biology with the Faculty of Science at Memorial University in St. John.

In 2019 she curated Billy Gauthier: Beyond Bone, and was herself exhibited in Nunatsiavut: Our Beautiful Land. She was also part of the volunteer team for Let’s Talk Science, which won the 2019 Indigenous Outreach Project Award [9]. In the summer of 2019, Winters was the Nunatsiavut Ilukkusiliginimmut kamajillaginga/Nunatsiavut cultural ambassador on Adventure Canada Expeditions to the Arctic. Winters recently finished illustrating another children’s book, entitled As We Always Have.  

About Jessica Winters

Medium:

Painting, Printmaking, Seal Skin, Textile

Artistic Community:

Makkovik, NL

Gender:

Female

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.

April 23, 1996