corinna Wollf

A detail from I am Métis (2016) by Saskatchewan artist Corinna Wollf. (seewollf.com)

Corinna Wollf is a Saskatoon-based artist with a vibrant mix of cultural heritage to draw on for inspiration: Her mother is Métis and her father is Mennonite.

Wollf, who is studying at the University of Saskatchewan, is exploring both cultures in her paintings.

The exploration began, in part, because her childhood days were not filled with influences from either background.

"In my family, the compromise was made that no culture would be prevalent," Wollf told CBC Radio host Eric Anderson in an interview for the program Saskatchewan Weekend. "So, not the Métis or the Mennonite."

Wollf said that led to a deep interest in both cultures when, as an adult, she sought to understand her own identity.

"[I was] wanting to find these cultures and reconnect and to have my own cultural identity," she said, noting that the exploration of that was likely the best way for her to learn about both. "It was the right way. It gave me the opportunity to look at things as an adult ... instead of being indoctrinated or having them told to me at a very early age."

Wollf said her art resonates with themes from both cultures.

"My artwork is all about identity and transformation," she said. "It is very much rooted in exploration of identity."

She said her current project is drawing from traditional aspects of Métis beading.

"I'm looking at contemporary Métis artists, such as Christi Belcourt and David Garneau, and I'm using that visual aesthetic to explore my own identity," she said. 

She also draws on her Mennonite background to further ground her art in her own history.

"On the Mennonite side, the Mennonites have their own visual aesthetic," she said. "They have quilting, incredible woodwork — lots of things that I can incorporate into my artwork."