Bayja Morgan-Banke from Toquaht Nation
2022 Pink Shirt Design Contest Winner
Bayja Morgan-Banke is a Toquaht / Secwépemc (Shuswap) artist born and raised in Tofino British Columbia, now living in Victoria British Columbia.
Being from a small ocean-side community, Bayja spent a lot of time in her young life on the water and in nature. Her father was a fisherman and artist himself specializing in wood carving while her grandmother, an artist who really could do anything (but mainly painted), created an environment to allow her artistic freedom to flow and grow. Art lessons with her grandmother are some of her most treasured memories today.
"She is one of the most powerful women I’ve ever met and so very herself," says Bayja. "She sparked a love of drawing and painting when I was young and a love of music too. She taught me guitar and to sing. She’s a beautiful individual inside and out. Her teachings will last with me for the rest of my life.”
Bayja is now attending Vancouver Film School for Animation Concept Art in hopes of furthering her skill and turning her passion for art into a career. Alongside school, she’s been practicing Indigenous art, from drawing out designs to beading and creating jewelry. Her main goal is to one day combine her knowledge of film with Indigenous art as a method of sharing stories with the next generation and with the rest of the world as a character designer and storyboard artist.
"I want to use the medium of film to further tell the stories of my culture," Bayja explains. "It gets the word out and is an expressive form of media. A powerful tool for teaching.”
She values her small ocean town upbringing as an inspiration for her art. From watching seagulls steal her family’s catch, to eagles flying in the bay, bears on the islands, or wolves on the mudflats, Tofino is a truly wild area. Her parents taught her respect for the local wildlife and for mother ocean, a value that today fuels her artwork and connectedness. Bayja is a firm believer that inspiration for art lives in everything.
“We are products of our environments as is everything else. When I need inspiration, I find the best thing to do is take a moment and look around myself. I think of people I’ve met, the nature that surrounds us, and the experiences I’ve had. It’s good to create what you know. It gives you a connectedness to it."
Pink Shirt Design Contest Winner 2022
Bayja Morgan-Banke is a 19 yr old Toquaht / Secwépemc (Shuswap) artist born and raised in Tofino British Columbia, now living in Victoria British Columbia.
"To stand up for those weaker than ourselves regardless of consequence is one of the strongest acts of love we can show one another. When we choose to use our strength to protect rather than to harm others we make the world a better place for at least one person. The eagle represents wisdom, strength, and courage. I believe that to achieve a kinder world for our children we need to have the wisdom to think before we act, the strength to defend one another, and the courage to stand up and take action. We lead by example for our youth and showing them love with the definition of unconditional is the most important thing to ensure them the most success raising the next generation."
Pink Shirt Design Contest Winner 2021
Jeremiah Peters is a Coast Salish artist from WSÁNEĆ.
"I chose the thunderbird for its great strength and protection. The thunderbird's wings are wrapped around the Childs's face, from the biggest hearts to the smallest."