As an interdisciplinary artist Michelle Sylliboy considers poetry and photography to be her first love. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Sylliboy is a Mi’kmaq artist who was raised in the unceded territory of We’koqmaq First Nation, located in beautiful Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia.
With a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Emily Carr and a Masters degree in Education from SFU, Sylliboy is currently doing her Doctorate Degree in Philosophy of Education with a focus on Curriculum and Implementation at Simon Fraser University. Her educational pursuits are aimed at creating language revitalization by developing a Mi’kmaq Hieroglyphic curriculum using art as the medium.
Her artistic temperament has greatly benefited the community, as she helped the emerging and professional poets and visual artists with the work she did with the West Coast Aboriginal Writers Collective in Vancouver, B.C. She helped raise opportunities of self publishing and launching “Salish Seas: An anthology of text + image”. As the Art Director, she helped arrange a successful exhibition at Vancouver’s Gaston’s Gallery Gachet, which was curated by Tania Willard.
Engaged in the community, Michelle believes in sharing knowledge with others to facilitate meaningful dialogues. Her last curatorial community event in June of 2016 “The Art of Reconciliation” brought together musicians, poets, and visuals artists to address their views about reconciliation at the Vancouver Public Library.
Her contributing piece “The Art of Reconciliation” was a collaborative new work she did with Vancouver Opera Cellist Heather Hays. The words in Mi’kmaq describe the effects of intergenerational trauma, and how it feels to be a child of a survivor, by collaborating with Heather Michelle was able to bridge two cultures together in a contemporary dialogue through music and poetry. Understanding reconciliation is about understanding our roles as protectors of mother earth and how colonization and residential school shaped our ways of being today. The cello enables the soul to listen in a manner that is non-intrusive while the words and imagery transports you on a subliminal journey. This new work will be witnessed at Read Out Loud in Sechelt for one night only in June and is also part of the 2017 UnSettled Two Spirit curated Festival by Adrain Stimson for two weeks.