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"Johnston’s spirit name is Wiishkoonseh Miigizi'enh means Whistling White Headed Eagle. He grew up in Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and apprenticed with Storytellers since his youth. Sources of his artistic inspiration include woodland painters, Storytellers and the traditions of his indigenous culture. Johnston notes: “In a time of reconciliation, it is important for all people to know that we exist and have such a strong, beautiful legacy of stories and teachings from the Anishinaabe Nation that are grounded in my experience and identity.”
A painter, mural artist, traditional storyteller, and traditional helper, Johnston uses his gift of storytelling to connect his peoples’ stories of love and healing with the broader world, and offer support to a range of community organizations. His work has been exhibited across many of Canada’s most important institutions, from the AGO and ROM to the Evergreen Brickworks and the Chippewas of Nawash Cultural Centre. His artistic practice is focused on illustrating stories of the Anishinaabe Nation in a variety of media in order to raise awareness of their unique histories as they in turn inform his process. He was born and raised on his beautiful reserve, Neyaashiinigmiing, on the Saugeen Peninsula (Bruce Peninsula) and took a keen interest in painting and art at a very young age.
Johnston has an established portfolio of work and is well recognized in Toronto. His original works are showcased at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in the Jennings Young gallery (J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous & Canadian Art). Johnston’s Diiyah Muh’gaanag (Our First Family) is a collection of images of spiritual beings, plants and animals based on Anishinaabe teachings. Drawn in a pictographic style, they tell stories of botany, astrology and the interconnectedness of all living things. Johnston currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, and is a contributing member to the Indigenous & Canadian collection at the AGO."