First Nations Art of Rocky Fiddler

Born February 14, 1959, Rocky Fiddler is a talented Cree artist from the Sandy Lake reserve in northwestern Ontario. During his early years on the reserve, he was greatly influenced by the traditional lifestyle and attitudes of the elders. He listened as they talked about the sacred legend histories of his people and watched as his mentor, Carl Ray, changed their words into dramatic visual representations that could be appreciated by all peoples.

As Rocky grew into manhood, he felt that he also had a message concerning his people that he wished to pass on. He talked with the elders and Carl Ray about this dream and their blessings launched his career. Rockey's admiration for Carl Ray was obvious in his own style which borrowed heavily from Carl in his depictions of the animal and spirit worlds as they relate to the sacred legends of his people and their relationship to present day conflicts and stresses felt by native people.

Rocky's great friend, Carl Ray, died in late 1978 and this was a very harsh blow to Rocky's confidence coming at a time when he was already suffering great physical pain caused by his affliction of debilitating arthritis. Rocky became more determined than ever to continue fulfilling his dream now that Carl was gone. Although Rocky still uses some of Carl's techniques, his style has grown softer and unique with interpretations remaining in the animal-spirit domain but his artwork is becoming more painstakingly defined.

His art show at the Nicholas Art Gallery, Ottawa, in April, 1981 was his last in memory of Carl as he is moving to fulfill the ideals of an achievement award he received from the Ontario All Chiefs Conference in 1980. They cited him for his depiction of traditional native values and principles which ensure a better understanding of his people and a better future for everyone's children.

Rocky Fiddler has exhibited his art at the following locations:

  • Thompson Gallery, Toronto
  • Toronto Eaton Centre, Toronto
  • WAH-SA Gallery, Winnipeg
  • Nicholas Art Gallery, Ottawa
  • Chateau Montebello, Montebello

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