Going solo
Dawn Oman's premiere exhibit next weekend

by Janet Smellie
Northern News Services

NNSL (Nov 07/97) - If you're tired of the lack of sunshine we've been getting lately and worried you may be falling prey to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), you'll definitely want to check out Dawn Oman's solo exhibition set to open in Yellowknife next weekend.

One glance at her colorful images and you'll easily put aside your winter woes. You'll also get a taste of the latest originals from one of Yellowknife's most commercially successful artists who's soon to be marketed internationally.

Oman, whose colorful murals adorn the Canadian Tire store (just one example of her artistic offerings), has also produced hundreds of cards, designed T-shirts, completed commissioned works for corporations and even designed jewelry and clothing.

"It's just something I have to do to be happy," Oman says, "I've always been creating something since I was a child."

Oman's childhood, filled as it was with the anxiety of being bounced from one foster family to another, wasn't an easy one. Her imagination, she says, was the one way she could escape the unhappiness around her.

"I have a wild imagination. I used to do pen-and-ink sketches all the time. It helped," she says. "I

enjoy acrylic because the colors are so vibrant. It also dries very fast."

Oman, who is of Chipewyan and Welsh ancestry, was born in Yellowknife and eventually taken to British Columbia by foster parents, who tossed her on the street when she turned 16.

After several years B.C., she returned to Yellowknife in 1994 in search for her roots.

Three years later and self-sufficient, Oman says she's in no hurry to leave.

"I'm back to stay. It's like starting all over again," she says. Since she's returned to the North she's been able to locate some of her half-brothers and sisters.

With about 150 images, Oman has been able to produce her own cards from her living-room. She's also just ironed out a deal with Garfinkel Publications, a major producer of native art cards who will be producing a series of Dawn's works for an international market -- just in time for Christmas.

Oman's exhibition will be held next Friday and Saturday at Visual Effects in the Panda I Mall