Available for preorder since last week, Tsm'syen artist Morgan Asoyuf's Every Child Matters t-shirt was released in advance of Orange Shirt Day 2021, with all proceeds going to the Orange Shirt Society and the BC Aboriginal Child Care Association.
As an official Native Northwest retailer, we've received hundreds of orders for the t-shirts so far, so we figured we'd give our readers a window into the world of the artist that created the design.
Born in Prince Rupert in 1984, Asoyuf works in various mediums including jewelry, carving, and painting, and has been mentored by artists such as Haida master engraver Rick Adkins, among others.
As she tells us, the artwork for this latest t-shirt shows "two eagles holding around like a heart; this depicts protecting with love."
When asked how she feels knowing that thousands of people will be wearing her design, she says "I truly hope that all those people will become activated to protect youth and children and create more awareness and education about all the work that still needs to happen in stopping systemic racism."
Seemingly born to teach, Asoyuf educates and tells stories of her ancestors through her visual art, and has also worked extensively in more formal, hands-on settings, such as workshops and courses. She explains, "I’ve always enjoyed teaching, especially cultural courses for children... they’re really pure and always really excited to do art in general."
She goes on to say that she's "always felt strongly that as many people as possible should be able to just create cultural works for their own family, wherever that’s possible to do."
Her next release from Native Northwest is a children's board book called "Learning My Rights with Mousewoman", and it shares some of the same artwork on the cover as is on her Every Child Matters t-shirt.
The book aims to teach kids about their rights according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, through a character called Mousewoman. The tiny, supernatural creature is embedded throughout her people's culture and is known for the protection of youth and children.
She tells us the purpose of the book is "to empower children to understand what their rights are and create abuse prevention," and that extra materials such as curriculum and course ideas will be included with it.
The book is set to be released in late July.