Ancestry: The Art Of Belonging

(All art featured here was produced between 2016 - 2019)


Low tide at Eslhá7an 1886

Eslhá7an, or the Mission Indian Reserve #1is where my Ancestral family line ended and where we all parted ways in the 1940s, with the death of my Great x3 Grandmother: Marie Celestine.

This painting is a representation of an early photograph from the Vancouver Archives showing St Paul's Church, prior to the double spire rebuild.

12 x 48" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas.

This painting is SOLD however the collector will lend it for showing.

Winner, 3rd place Canadian Federation of Artists 2017


Canoes and Teepees at Eslhá7an, 1888

This painting is a representation of an early photograph from the Vancouver Archives, of the canoes and 'teepees' at Eslhá7an. This picture would have been to the left (or west) of the painting above.

15 x 30" Acrylic and collage on deep canvas.

This painting is SOLD however the collector will lend it for showing.


Slhx̱i7lsh (Siwash Rock)

This is a painting of Slhx̱i7lsh (Siwash Rock), as seen from the mouth of the Capilano River.

The women are seen here gathering food. My father use to say, “When the tide is out, the table is set”.

Slhx̱i7lsh is close to where my ancestral family lived upon their arrival to the lower mainland in about 1843; X̱wáýx̱way, a village inside of what is now Stanley Park.

24 x 24" Acrylic on deep canvas.


Celestine by Jenn Ashton 2017.jpg


This is a representation of photograph of my Great x3 Grandmother, taken probably in the early 1940s, most likely at her home on the Mission Reserve #1 in North Vancouver, Eslhá7an.

22 x 30" Mixed media on paper.

Published in ROOM Magazine Issue 41.2 March 2018.





Grandmothers by Jenn Ashton 2017.jpg


This is a painting of my Great x4 Grandmother Skoalhkomat, holding my newborn Great x3 Grandmother Marie Celestine around 1844 in X̱wáýx̱way, a village inside of what is now Stanley Park.

Houerholitsa and my Great x4 Grandfather Skoalhkomat were from Yekwaupsum.

22 x 28" Acrylic and charcoal on ply board.

Published in ROOM Magazine Issue 41.2 March 2018

*This painting is SOLD, and will be available as prints and any merchandise requested.





Annie At School

My Great x2 Grandmother was taken from her mother at the age of three to St Mary's Residential School, where she remained until she was 13.

30 x 24" Acrylic, mixed media and charcoal on deep canvas.


Those Merrifield Girls

For this painting I wanted to bring my ancestors closer to me into modern day. I imagine these two would have been a force to be reckoned with.

This is  my Great x2 Auntie Mary and her sister, my Great x2 Grandma Annie. They were both in Residential School from the age of three.

24 x 24" Acrylic  and charcoal on deep canvas.





Fiddler Crab

I add this painting into this group as I have always had a closeness with the ocean and beaches of the west coast. Now I know it is because it is a part of who I am.

This guy just makes me happy!

36 x 36" Acrylic and pastel on slim canvas.


’ulhqi’ (Snake)

Another friend from the forests of West Coast BC where I grew up.

12 x 30" Acrylic on canvas.




Another friend from the West Coast of BC.

18 x 24" Acrylic on slim canvas.

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Night Gull

One more good friend from the West Coast.

10 x10" Acrylic and crayon on slim cradle board.


Walking in Bear Feet

I was afraid of bears all my life, until I stopped seeing them, and then the prospect of a world without bears, that made me even more afraid.

37 x 44" Acrylic on paper. (*Note: Unless you are comfortable hanging paper, this will be cut and mounted on two canvases as a diptych).

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The Call of the loon is one of my favourite sounds. Another of my West Coast favourites.

20 x 20" Acrylic on deep canvas. SOLD

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Spring comes to Eslhá7an

This isn't from a photo, just my imagination, looking at  Eslhá7an, or the Mission Indian Reserve #1 in North Vancouver from near X̱wáýx̱way, a village inside of what is now Stanley Park.

9 x 12" Acrylic on paper.

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The Game

The Game - In the heat of the summer's long days, the North wind and the moon have naught else to do.

18 x 24" Acrylic and ink on canvas.

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Ollie the harbour seal.

6 x 6" Acrylic on deep birch cradle board.

It Doesn’t Wipe Off

In honour of the oh-so-many mixed-race indigenous, who, when they saw it didn’t wipe off, instead covered it up with white makeup to fit in to the burgeoning society which did not accept them because of the colour of their skin, and a world that didn't accept them because of their lineage.


9 x 12"  Graphite and Neo Colour on paper.


A Home We Never Knew

This past week I found another photo of My Great x3 Grandmother (Mr's Chief Harry), in the North Vancouver Archives. She is sitting on a front step with Sophie and Jimmy Frank. 

The understanding has been soaking into me that, from her time forward, we never had roots or a home. Her mother and father came from Yekwaupsum, and that was probably the last time my ancestors had roots. Once they reached the lower mainland things changed.

I like to imagine this is maybe what one of the longhouses looked like, sitting near the beach, full of good food, with a backdrop of thick trees. It feels very peaceful to me, even though it is maybe the saddest painting I have ever made.


16x20 Acrylic and collage on deep canvas. SOLD



My Great x4 Grandmother Skoalhkomat, bore us all.

Acrylic and ink on paper, mounted on a 16 x 20" Canvas.


Neapolitan Grandmothers

My Grandmothers were various colors, but they all felt the same to hug.

Gauche on paper mounted on 10x10" birch cradleboard.



Multiple generation of my ancestors wore heavy makeup to lighten their skin. They had to 'pass' for white in the early days of our city, in order to find work and fit in to a society that frowned upon coloured skin.

16 x 20 Acrylic on canvas.

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I felt like a wallflower, unseen, forever a scared 12 year old. In my family, we were taught to hide.

12 x 12 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas.