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Cheyenne Ozinja-Thiha | Artist of the Month | November 2021

Cheyenne Ozinja-Thiha (She/Her). Iethkabi, Mni Thni (Morley AB), Treaty 7 Territory. Emerging Artist, Regalia Making/ Craftsman, Cultural Tattoo Practitioner. Cheyenne is a self-taught Artist from the Stoney Nakoda tribe and her home is forever with the Mountain People. Cheyenne had a creative mindset since she was a child. She started drawing with pencil and ballpoint pens, her sketchbooks were the lined papers from her mother’s journal. She began to observe her aunts with their mending skills and soon afterwards, her aunts taught her to sew with a needle and thread, she would often make small purses or dolls when she was 8 years old. In childhood, she would “Tattoo” her uncle and aunts with a ball-point pen. As a child, her uncle spent years encouraging her to tattoo one day to which sparked her interest in tattooing. As she grew, she spent her teen years in hopes to be a tattoo artist one day. In her last year of Highschool, Cheyenne taught herself with the help of her Art teacher, the techniques and methods in acrylic painting, leading to watercolor methods. Cheyenne succeeded in her art classes.

Then at the age of 25, she had the opportunity of her lifetime, to be a Cultural Tattoo Practitioner at the Earthline Tattoo Residency, the summer of 2019. She made the course her priority and gave her 110%, learning the traditional values and also learning to protect potential clients from blood borne pathogen diseases. Her hard work paid off and she succeeded in the course.

She grew as an artist being a part of Nakoda AV Club in 2011 as an Actress/ Background actor. Cheyenne left the club for a while and in 2019 she had rejoined the club for small parts in the Nakoda AV club films. Because of the club, she made connections to take part in galleries and have her artwork displayed. Her first gallery in Edmonton AB, Gallerie Cite had displayed five pieces of her paintings and she had three of her artwork sold. Cheyenne had the thrill of being a part of the art community and decided to take part in AMAAS June 2019, she met and made connections with the media artists that had attended. During the time she was preparing an art instalment with TRUCK Gallery in the fall 2019; Mother Tongue. She has created a mural on glass with acrylic. She also began to learn to be a film editor as she took the role as a Voice Narrator in a short film regarding the reintroduction of the bisons to the land, briefly working with Banff National Park.

Cheyenne, with two members of the AV Club, is also a producer of an upcoming film project, regarding the reconciliation between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities within the Bow Valley. Lastly, but not the least, she is one of the five Artists in Rockies Repeat, Banff AB. Cheyenne had worked as a tattoo apprentice in Calgary AB, and part time in a Helicopter tour group as a Cultural Host. She took pride in educating touring guests on her Stoney Nakoda heritage.

Cheyenne has been taking commissions on her artwork and requests for traditional tattoos for the time being. Contact Info: Cheyenne Ozinja-Thiha Email: (403) 608 1231

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