Stephanie Hill

Gabiyen Ottawa

“Níbin” by Gabiyen Ottawa

Gabriel (Gabiyen) Ottawa is a 19 year-old Algonquin artist from Kitigan Zibi, Quebec. Having been born and raised on his home reserve, he grew up having the culture always near. Specializing in painting portraits, this project brings a new opportunity for him in illustrations catered for colouring books. Having started drawing at the age of 11, he now uses primarily oil paints to depict various key figures in modern pop culture. He has a deep sentiment toward his identity as an Anishinabe person. Because of this, recognizing the Algonquin people’s reliance on the Gatineau river since time immemorial was an important aspect of this project. Níbin, the title of this drawing, means summer in the Algonquin language. The season was a time for travel, trade and socializing. Known also as a time for berry picking, the summer season holds deep cultural values, as it was also a time for ceremony. In reflecting on the illustration, it was important that not only aspects of summer were included in the illustration, but a family dynamic also. This family represents the core values of the Anishinabe people, passing their teachings to the future generation. The illustration at face value portrays a family assembling a birchbark canoe, essential for travel on the Gatineau River, regarded as the highway of the Algonquin people.

Everyone is invited to colour and share the “Summer River” drawing. Youth are invited to participate in a workshop in honour of the te-nagàdino-zìbi/gatineau river.

Calling out to all youth who wish to learn about the waterways of this region, the canoe and the paddle, through a guided story and art-making process led by Algonquin artists, storytellers, and teachers.

Circadia Indigena is collaborating with Outaouais artists and Arts organizations to give youth, ages 14 to 17, the opportunity to personalize their own canoe paddle. In two workshop sessions, youth participants will be guided through a story circle and self-directed art-making process, crafting their own visual markings and designs onto the canoe paddle they’ll receive. Once completed, the paddles are then sealed and readied for use. The paddle is ultimately a tool and as such may serve to empower and guide a young paddler’s journey forward.

“We will share and be inspired by Indigenous stories connecting us to the rich history of these lands and waterways we now co-inhabit; stories that express the inter-connected relationship the Algonquin peoples have had with these freshwater lakes and waterways for thousands of years. The stories and teachings shared can align and enhance our values and stewardship towards the land, water, and environment that sustains us.” JP Longboat, Circadia Indigena.

Workshop dates:

Sunday July 17 from 10:30 am–3:00 pm, meet up at Khewa in Wakefield

Sunday July 31st at PAF (Place des Artistes de Farrellton) from 10:30 am–3:00 pm 

Thursday August 11th at 6 pm for a Closing Circle by the river 

To register or for more information contact Hannah Ranger (PAF): 

Please send us a photo of your colouring! We’d love to see it!

To download a copy go to: or pick up your copy at Khewa (737 Riverside Drive) or at the Wakefield Library during opening hours.

Brought together by respect for Truth and Reconciliation and a shared love of the River, the following organizations are collaborating to help bring more love to it: Circadia Indigena, PAF (Place des artistes de Farrellton), Khewa and STO Union.

The Spring 2022 drawing session is now over.

Thank you to the 60+ people who submitted coloured drawings and their creative replies to us. We’re working on our creative reply back to you so please stay tuned!

The FALL video of IDEAS:

Who can participate in RIVER, the community art collaboration?

Submissions are open to all and are volunteer-based. We hope to have as many participants as possible!

Will the artworks be returned?

Yes, submissions will be returned at the RIVER exhibit next Fall (2022) at Place des Artistes de Farrellton (PAF).

Will the artworks be used in an exhibit?

Yes, the project culminates in both live and video presentations of the community’s work at Place des Artistes de Farrellton (PAF). Additionally, selected submissions may become part of STO Union’s next international touring show, premiering in the Fall of 2022 in a soon to be announced major cultural centre.

When will the exhibition open?

Dates are yet to be confirmed, but sign up to our newsletter for updates!

What if the drop off locations are not open? How do I submit my work?

You can submit your work electronically too! Scroll down on this page for instructions and the form to upload your work with a good photo or scan.

What if I’m not great at colouring in the lines?

No problem, we want everyone to express themselves how they feel comfortable — whether that’s with paint, markers, inside the lines or way outside of them!

Can I submit more than one entry?

Absolutely! We are not limiting submissions per person. To download additional copies, scroll up on this page, and download away.

Do I need to live near the Gatineau River to participate?

We invite all who feel called to participate to do so. Nature is shared by all and so is this project!

Who owns my artwork?

Your artwork belongs to you, but by submitting to the RIVER project, you agree to let us use them in art projects such as in the exhibit, video, online and in live productions.

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    River project partners are:

    F.O.G. (Friends of the Gatineau River)
    Biblio Wakefield Library
    Bibliothèque Chelsea Library
    The Low Down to Hull and Back
    Chelsea Elementary School

    STO Union gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts for its ongoing support.

    Canada Council for the Arts Logo

    We recognize this season of letting go along with our pandemic reality can result in feelings of grief. If you or someone you know is struggling or in distress, please know you are not alone. It’s important to reach out to get help. Some resources include Kids Help Phone, Canada Suicide Prevention Service and Quebec Crisis Intevention. The Canadian Mental Health Association also offers resources to support mental health during the pandemic.