Dennis J. Weber SFCA, CIPA
Born Joseph Denis Weber in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1951, Dennis grew up in Calgary and then raised his own family there. In 1999 he moved to Kelowna, BC and in his home studio works in oil, pastel, pencil, charcoal, colored pencil or a combination. His mastery of these media is due in part to his glazing technique. Dennis has senior accreditation in the Federation of Canadian Artists (SFCA) and is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Portrait Artists (CIPA). His demonstrations, adult workshops and weekly classes are much in demand but he also mentors children for the Metis Community Services Society of BC and teaches Aboriginal children in Kelowna's School District 23.
The main influence for the direction of Dennis' art has been his mother's Métis heritage. The fascinating story of the Métis people's 17th century origins, through to the official recognition in the 20th as one of Canada's three Aboriginal peoples, could be told through Dennis' ancestors. Louis Riel, Canada's most renowned Métis (Dennis' first cousin five generations removed), was not only instrumental in the creation of Manitoba, but also a poet, visionary and ultimately a martyr. He stated in 1885, the year of his death:
"My People will sleep for one hundred years. When they awaken,
it will be the artists who give them back their spirit."
It was, in fact, about a century after Riel's prediction that Dennis started to explore the possibility of becoming an artist full-time. Since then, he's achieved not only that, but for helping to revive his culture, is now considered one of Canada's foremost Métis artists.
Dennis attends a number of art events each year including: the four-day invitational Artist Ride in South Dakota, attended by fifty artists from across North America; the Calgary Stampede's Western Art Showcase, including nine years in the Sales Salons; and throughout the year various Métis events. In 2007 his personal collection of Métis artifacts were on display, alongside his art, at the exhibition We Are Métis in the Kelowna Museum. In 2014 the Metis Veterans Monument was unveiled at Batoche, Saskatchewan, the site of the 1885 Metis Resistance. Dennis' oil painting will be etched into this remarkable memorial, as will approximately 4,500 names of Metis veterans.
Dennis is represented by Turtle Island Gallery in Kelowna. His art has been published in the following: David Bouchard's "The Secret of Your Name" about discovering his Metis roots; a book in the Turtle Island Series called "Making It Right"; a number of articles published by the Gabriel Dumont Institute; as well images reproduced in school textbooks. He is currently working on his second book with David Bouchard.
"When someone responds to my work, they often tell me it's because it reminds them of a great experience, favourite place or someone they know. Creating a bridge between our common experiences is what I value most about the art I produce."