Sheldon Pierre Louis is an interdisciplinary artist whose versatile work is shown in a variety of settings ranging from large-scale wall murals to gallery exhibition spaces to public art installations. Sheldon is a member of the syilx Nation, a Councillor with Okanagan Indian Band, and a community leader whose work is influenced by his ancestral roots. He mentors youth from his own and surrounding communities and takes joy in the mutual inspiration fostered through these collaborations.
Sheldon’s ancestral roots have influenced his works in painting, drawing, carving, and sculpting. Sheldon sits on the board of directors for the Arts Council of the North Okanagan in his second term, and also sits on the Board for the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives. Sheldon received the First Peoples Cultural Council’s Emerging Artist Development Award in 2015. He is the lead visual artist of the Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective and is a member of Ullus Collective, both groups based in Syilx Art. As a member of the Re-Think 150: Indigenous Truth Collective Sheldon has worked on a youth mural in conjunction with the Kelowna Secondary School’s Honours Art 12 class.
Sheldon has mentored as an artist under his father Gerald Louis for most of his life, and has also mentored under Barb Marchand, both multi-disciplinary Syilx artists. Through Ullus Collective, Sheldon has exhibited his works at the “Eco tone Festival of the Arts 2014” at the Kelowna Rotary Centre for the Arts and “k’wansxixmentem i? sck’lq’aq’y’tet – Showing Our Artwork” at the Enowkin Centre in Penticton, BC. As a member of the Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective Sheldon has exhibited with the Vernon Public Art Gallery and Gallery Vertigo.
Sheldon has many pieces of work in private collections, some as far as Australia & New Zealand. One of his most prominent works is on permanent display as a public art installation in the Kelowna General Hospital, a honour which was brought forth by Interior Health Association & Okanagan Nation Alliance. Sheldon’s most prized piece of work is the “Ceremonial Mace of University of British Columbia Okanagan”, a hand-carved wood piece that is carried in the con-vocational ceremony every year. This piece sits on display throughout the year at UBCO in the administration building.
Through a 2016 FPCC Youth Engagement Award, Sheldon worked within his home community at Okanagan Indian Band, engaged and mentored four Okanagan Indian Band youth in the creation of a large community mural situated at the Okanagan Indian Band’s Health Centre. An integral part of this mural project was returning to the land while reconnecting the Okanagan Indian Band youth with Elders from the community. The youth were also involved with engaging the communities outside of the reservation, creating a smaller public art installation as part of the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s annual youth inspired art event “Riot on the Roof”.
Sheldon was awarded the Emerging Artist Award in 2015 from FPCC for work where he returned to the land and learned traditional practices of working with animal hides. Sheldon created moose rawhide sculptures depicting traditional stories, as well as a rawhide canvas depicting two traditional hereditary Chiefs from the Southern Okanagan Territory. It was through this project that Sheldon found his calling as a Syilx artist. Sheldon utilizes the history and traditional stories (Captikwɬ) to inspire and create his own unique Syilx style of art.