A Painful Journey to Powerful Connection - An Artist at Heart
As Selkirk College student Darwin Greyeyes handed out his commissioned hand-made bronze feathers to Aboriginal graduates at a breakfast celebration held at the Gathering Place on the Castlegar Campus recently, he did so with pride.
Greyeyes is proud of himself, his renewed artistic accomplishment and the healing journey he’s found the strength to take—all the way back to his First Nations roots.
A Kootenay Studio Arts at Selkirk College (KSA)) student, Greyeyes has found great success as a blacksmithing and bronze casting artist.
“Darwin is one of the best students I’ve ever had,” says Blacksmithing Studio Instructor Kevin Kratz, particularly impressed by the tools his student has made.
Greyeyes received top marks from Denis Kleine, Bronze Casting Studio instructor as well.
“He really is an amazing craftsman and an amazing guy,” says Kleine, one of the region’s most well-known sculptors.
Darwin Greyeyes enrolled in Selkirk College Kootenay Studio Arts last fall amid a mental health crisis that shook his foundation. Now, thriving in his new environment, the sculptor has reconnected with his artistic self and his First Nations roots in a healing journey taking him forward one step at a time.
It’s a triumph of considerable proportions for Greyeyes considering his struggle to get there.
Just a few years ago, Greyeyes was down and out struggling with anxiety attacks and mental distress. No longer able to work, his successful construction company had crumbled and he faced financial ruin.
“It was hard to crash in life, to lose all who one thinks they are and were,” he says.
A bi-polar diagnosis two years ago brought Greyeyes self-understanding to a decade of uncharacteristic erratic behaviour and came with the support he needed to manage his mental health including spending four months in care. Still, the 54-year-old was lost in life before finding his way to Kootenay Studio Arts where he rediscovered a passion for creating sculpture.
“It’s nice to have that fire lit inside again. I was lost,” he says. “This program has been like a godsend. It’s been a blessing. I’m going to look back at this as the turning point for my new me, starting here at KSA—and being diagnosed.”
Read the full story at selkirk.ca