Shay Paul is a contemporary artist and graphic designer living in Tk’emlups te
Secwepemc and attending Thompson Rivers University to obtain a Bachelor of Social
Work. She has been active in the arts since she was in elementary school, studying in
a variety of disciplines, but choosing drawing and painting as her favourite medium.
When she’s not creating art, she is volunteering her time in various circles to
better indigenous livelihoods. Her studies have taken her to rural northern Ontario,
where she spent time establishing garden plans and food sustainability programs
as a part of her Horticulture practicum in Wapakeka First Nation and Kasabonika
Lake First Nation. By spending time in those communities, she found a calling
for art therapy and agricultural therapy and decided to change her path of
study to Social Work.
In addition, her studies have also encouraged her to explore how creative outlets can have an impact on trauma survivors, particularly residential school survivors and intergenerational trauma survivors. This has led to two independent and self-organized art exhibitions focusing on indigenous culture revitalization and therapeutic art practices. Shay is also an active volunteer with the non-profit organization, Canadian Roots Exchange, whose’ mandate is to build meaningful relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples across Canada. With this organization, Shay has spent the last year planning and facilitating cultural workshops for youth from all backgrounds, focusing on teaching indigenous-world views and encouraging conversations on reconciliation.
What ties all of these endeavours together is the passion that Shay has for encouraging the resurgence of indigenous cultures and practices, and how that can improve the state of indigenous livelihoods across Canada.