Dennis Joseph Weber was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1951 and lived most of his life in Calgary, Alberta. He feels his mother's Métis heritage contributed to the development of his art and continues to influence it. The fascinating story of the Métis Nation's 17th century origins, through to it's official Canadian recognition in the 20th, could be told through Dennis' ancestors. Louis Riel, Canada's most renowned Métis (and Dennis' first cousin five generations removed), was not only instrumental in the creation of Manitoba, but also a poet, visionary and ultimately a martyr. He stated in 1885, the year of his death:
"My People will sleep for one hundred years. When they awaken, it will be the artists who give them back their spirit."
It was, in fact, about a century after Riel's prediction that Dennis started to explore the possibility of becoming an artist full-time. Since then, he's achieved not only that, but for helping to revive his culture, is now considered one of Canada's foremost Métis artists.
In 1999 Dennis moved to Kelowna, BC and still works out of his home studio. His mastery of the media he uses (oil, pastel, pencil, charcoal or colored pencil) is due in part to his glazing technique, one of many skills he employs. Dennis has achieved accreditation in both the Federation of Canadian Artists (SFCA) and the Canadian Institute of Portrait Artists (CIPA, Fellow). He was recently asked by the Curator of the House of Commons to apply to paint Paul Martin's portrait (for a complete list of awards and commissions scroll down to his CV). His demonstrations and adult workshops are much in demand but he also finds time to mentor children for the Metis Community Services Society of BC and teach Aboriginal children in Kelowna's School District 23.
Dennis says of his art:
"When someone responds to my work, they often tell me it's because it reminds them of a past experience, favourite place or someone they know. Creating a bridge between our common experiences is what I value most about the art I produce."
Dennis' bibliography includes David Bouchard's "The Secret of Your Name", "Making it Right", a book published by Rubicon Publishing for their Turtle Island Series, articles published by the Gabriel Dumont Institute as well as a number of images in school textbooks (see complete list below). He is represented by Turtle Island Gallery in Kelowna and Moonstone Gallery in Calgary.
Visit Dennis's website "HERE"