Alan Syliboy was born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia. Living in the Millbrook First Nations community, he journeys through his life with a demeanor of strength. Alan has built an ever growing list of accomplishments throughout his lifetime, although many people are most familiar with his beautiful and unique works of art that captivate and inspire us. Here we will share just a small portion of some of his great contributions to the world of art.
In 1971 Alan began his private study with influential artist and activist Shirley Bear who is an Order of Canada recipient. Four years later Alan decided to further his education in the art world and joined the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
Since then Alan has made huge strides towards success as an artist. He created a limited edition Butterfly gold coin for the Canadian Mint in 1999 it was limited to 25,000 copies which sold out. In 2002 he was presented with the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal. The year after that Alan was the featured artist and Aboriginal consultant for the production Drum!for CBC television. He was also involved with Muiniskw, a CBC animation special which included his artwork. Within that same year he also became a juror for the Canada Council for the Arts!
Alan has traveled world wide, graciously sharing his gifts with us all. He traveled to France multiple times throughout his career participating in shows and trade missions. He was delegated by the Department of External Affairs of Canada to take part in a trade mission to Japan where he was joined by several other Nova Scotian companies. He obtained an agent and was involved with exportation of his works. He also took part in Art demonstrations at Ludwig Beck store in Munich, Germany.
In 2007 Alan took part in creating illustrations for the novel “The Stone Canoe: Two Lost Mi’kmaq tales,” which inspired him to continue his use of the Little Thunder character throughout his works, even co-writing a song for his band Lonecloud, called “Little Thunder.” In 2009 Alan collaborated with Nance Ackerman and Paton Francis to create the animation, “Little Thunder” for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics which presented the Little Thunder character in motion using Alan’s interesting and beautiful style. The animation showcased the true magnificence of his artwork and solidified it’s incredible potential. The animation was later featured in a travelling show called “Canada’s best” which will travel nationally and internationally. It has been in 40 different festivals around the world and was voted best animation in Montreal in 2011.
Alan made huge contributions to the 2010 Olympics. He was the lead artist of a group sculpture called “Keepers of the Eastern Door.” He also painted twelve breathtaking 4’x8′ panels entitled “People of the Dawn” which was later shortlisted for the Lieutenant Governor’s Masterworks Art Award.
Alan also has much experience curating different art shows. In 2009 he curated a showcase of New Brunswick artists at the Lord Beaverbrook Art Gallery, where one of his own large murals hung next to a painting done by the legendary Salvador Dali.
As Alan’s accomplishments continue on, he was given an opportunity to present Queen Elizabeth II with a portrait of Grand Chief Membertou. In the same year he was the recipient of a Canada Council grant for his work in “Brainstorm,” a collaboration he did with Nancy Ackerman and Dr. Ivar Mendez.
Alan was once again short listed for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award for:
The Thundermaker (2013) Multi-media installation, by Alan Syliboy. Nominator: David Diviney
An established Mi’kmaq artist, Syliboy’s artistic vocabulary is inspired by the indigenous petroglyphs of Nova Scotia. His immersive installation The Thundermaker is built around the recently discovered and translated Mi’kmaq legend, “The Stone Canoe,” in which the Thundermaker story is embedded. The installation begins with a circle of text panels illustrated with Syliboy’s drawings, and culminates with a tipi containing a projected animation film of the story. The animation was executed under the artist’s supervision by Nova Scotia Community College Digital Animation students. The artist’s work People of the Dawn was a 2010 Masterworks Finalist.
As Alan walks through this life he has made everlasting contributions and impressions that will teach and share his culture for generations to come. His art will continue to present the Mi’kmaw people with pride and his visions give us all a glimpse of his culture’s true beauties.