Manuel Axel Strain
June - July 2022
Manuel Axel Strain is a 2Spirit artist from the lands and waters of the xʷməθkʷəyəm (Musqueam), Simpcw and Syilx peoples, based in the sacred homelands of their q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie) and qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ (Kwantlen) relatives. Strain’s parents are Tracey Strain and Eric Strain, Strain’s grandparents are Harold Eustache (Chu Chua), Marie Louis (nk̓maplqs), Helen Point (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) and John Strain (Irish). Strain’s Great Grandparents Are Tina Cole (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) and Tony Point (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), Rose and Ben Louis (nk̓maplqs) and Manuel and Christine Eustache (Chu Chua). Although they attended Emily Carr University of Art + Design they prioritize Indigenous epistemologies through the embodied knowledge of their mother, father, siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents and ancestors.
Creating artwork in collaboration with and reference to their relatives, their shared experiences become a source of agency that resonates through their work with performance, land, painting, sculpture, photography, video, sound and installation. Their artworks often envelop subjects in relation with ancestral and community ties, Indigeneity, labour, resource extraction, gender, Indigenous medicines and life forces. Strain often perceives their work to confront and undermine the imposed realities of colonialism. offering a new space that can exist beyond its matrix. They have contributed work to the Capture Photography Festival through Richmond Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery, and more distant places across Turtle Island.