Ottawa

Buffy Sainte-Marie donates artwork to Wabano Centre

Buffy Sainte-Marie once made a film with Pierce Brosnan that was "not very good." Now, a painting inspired by that experience is going to live on in Ottawa.

Singer created digital painting on set of Pierce Brosnan film after 'dreadful' experience

Buffy Sainte-Marie is donating her painting Mohawk Warrior Contemplates His Image to Ottawa's Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. The painting was inspired by an unpleasant experience on the set of a TV film in which the singer says the filmmakers mistreated the production's Mohawk extras. (Mark Zaleski/Canadian Press)

Buffy Sainte-Marie once made a film with Pierce Brosnan that she says was "not very good".

Nevertheless, a work of art inspired by her experience on that film set is going to live on in Ottawa.

The 77-year-old singer-songwriter and activist told CBC Radio's All In A Day last week that she's donating her painting Mohawk Warrior Contemplates His Image to the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health.

The celebration has already started... and you can get tickets at the door 19:53

Film experience 'just dreadful'

The painting's genesis was on the set of a 1993 TV film called The Broken Chain. It starred both Brosnan and Sainte-Marie in a story about Iroquois brothers during the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War.

It was a film that Sainte-Marie did not enjoy making.

She was particularly annoyed with the way the film's Mohawk extras were treated, saying they weren't listened to on set — even about their own culture.  

"They didn't even consult [them] when it came to evening out Mohawk accents and using correct Mohawk language. Instead, they hired a probably wonderful accent coach — but she had never been around Mohawk folks," Sainte-Marie told All In A Day host Alan Neal.

"It was just dreadful. I spoke up, and was telling them, 'Look, you've got 37 Mohawk extras, they've grown up in this culture and speak their own language.' But they just weren't hearing it, and that's kind of the way Hollywood is."

Buffy Sainte-Marie is donating this painting, titled Mohawk Warrior Contemplates His Image, to the Wabano Centre.

Digital art 

So Sainte-Marie, also a visual artist, began sketching those extras — sketches she would later turn into digital art that looks like an oil painting.

"It's a picture of a young man ... combining a lot of those [extras'] faces," she said.

"Faces of someone looking old, looking young, twisted up and worried, in a lot of different moods. It has a certain impact that I've always loved, and I thought people at Wabano would like it."

Shipping problems 

She wanted to donate the framed painting to the Wabano Centre when she performed at the space this past Wednesday night.

However FYM Transport, a company that ships framed art pieces within Canada in a temperature-controlled vehicle, operate on a specific schedule.

Sainte-Marie's management company, Paquin Entertainment, hadn't realized this — and that means the painting likely won't make it from Winnipeg to Ottawa until the new year.

"It's not going to be here till February," Sainte-Marie said. "I was a little verklempt about [that], but I guess they couldn't pack it up and deliver it. "

Paquin Entertainment says they're trying to get the painting to the Wabano Centre earlier.