Philip Cote, MFA
Artist, Activist, Historian and Traditional Wisdom Keeper.
Moose Deer Point First Nation: Shawnee, Lakota, Potawatomi, and Ojibway.
A graduate of OCAD University’s Interdisciplinary Art Media and Design Masters program in 2015, Cote has been exploring new ways to imbue Mural Painting through oral traditions of storytelling and with traditional spiritual perspectives. Cote studied Beaux-Arts Style painting/drawing at OCAD under the direction of Carmen Cereceda Bianchi (Diego Rivera’s assistant).
Philip Cote emphasizes the resurgent power of nature and the importance of listening to Indigenous teachings through his Mural Art. lluminating 13,500+ years of Indigenous peoples history on Turtle Island showing their cosmology, mapping their place within the Universe and its beginnings, with light and dark showing their world linked to the underworld (Underwater World) and spirit world (Sky World).
In 2017, Cote received a grant from the Toronto Arts Council to create a mural depicting the Niagara Treaty for University of Toronto’s Massey College with the theme of Truth and Reconciliation/Canada 150.
Cote has been a tour guide with First Story since 1999, a three-hour tour providing an Indigenous history of Toronto uncovering the last 13,500 years. Cote’s academic practice includes public speaking, land acknowledgements, Indigenous Cosmology and cultural interpretation offered at York University, the Art Gallery of Ontario, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, OCAD University, and the Toronto District School Board through the Aboriginal Education Centre. In these Institutions, Cote shares his knowledge on the teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, the Medicine Wheel, Pipe, Naming and Sacred Fire Ceremonies, and the History of the Land.
As an Indigenous painter and Muralist, the purpose of Cote’s research is to unearth, and reveal, his cultural experience and knowledge of signs of Indigenous symbols, language and interpretation. Openings are thus created both within the archive/academia and broader public that enable these imbedded stereotypes to transform under the gaze of an Indigenous based interpreted presence and intervene in the cross generational colonial bias.