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Class of ‘99 and Cree Métis Artist and Filmmaker inducted into LTCHS Hall of Fame

Lindsay Thurber Hall of Fame

The Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Hall of Fame recognizes alumni who have made a difference in their community, while being role models for future graduates.

The 31st annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held on Oct. 5 where 1999 graduate Jesse Gouchey was inducted.

“I am honoured to be recognized. I am touched and forever grateful,” he said. “I dedicate this honour to my late father and daughter who was born last year. It’s in recognition of the love my parents and late father taught me - it’s about working hard and really doing the best job you can and I really try to do that with my artwork.”

Jesse is a descendant of the Papaschase First Nation, a self-taught, award-winning Cree Métis muralist, painter, animator, filmmaker and Animation Concept Art graduate from Vancouver Film School. He mixes contemporary media with Indigenous culture with a focus on large-scale spray-painted murals and commissioned paintings. Jesse is best-known for bringing wild animals and nature to life through paint, and teaching mural and painting workshops with an Indigenous lens across Western Canada.

Combining mural skills and animation to make a unique style of stop motion, Jesse teamed up with Co-Director Xstine Cook to create a piece entitled, Spirit of the Bluebird, which screened at TIFF, Imaginenative, APTN and over 100 film festivals worldwide in 2011 and 2012, and won several awards. This short documentary featured the story of an Aboriginal woman that faced injustice and was murdered in 1999. Jesse’s most recent mural animation, in 2021 and 2022, titled Johnny Crow, again with Co-Director Xstine, speaks to historical oppression and racial injustice to Indigenous peoples. The film was circulated at many international film festivals, also taking home several awards.

“I look at my career now and it’s been difficult to keep going as an artist. I’ve wanted to hang up my brushes and get a ‘real’ job, and I’ve done that a few times, but have always come back,” he told special guests and the Lindsay Thurber Graduating Class of 2024 during the induction ceremony. But despite his challenges, he has persevered and flourished into the artist he is today.

In addressing the graduating class, Jesse had one piece of advice. “As you embark on your own journey and figure out what you want to do, it’s about the energy you create, and the relationships you make, keep and maintain. It’s about hard work and attention to detail,” he said.

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