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Eli Bird

Born in Selkirk, MB in 1997, Eli Bird was always artistically inclined. He began in high school making
charcoal and graphite self-portraits, then portraits of others, and still-lifes in ink and watercolour. “My
high-school art teacher gave me the confidence to call myself an artist; we’re still in contact,” says
Eli with a grateful smile. During the last two years, he has worked primarily in acrylic on canvas and
board, and small sculptures in polymer clay and mixed media. He describes his style as painterly, not
super-realistic. “I try to convey my experiences as expressively as possible – sorrow, longing, desire –
while suggesting an over-all sense of hope. I have used self-portraiture extensively to point to my own
identity and self-acceptance.” Eli says he often uses the colours of the transgender pride flag: light
blue, pink, and white. He adds that Frida Kahlo’s art was seminal for him before his own transition;
Kahlo made beautiful, emotionally rich self-portraits, though she herself didn’t fit conventional beauty
standards. “Art doesn’t have a purpose in my life, it is the purpose,” Eli says. “Creativity comes naturally
to me; making art was what I was put here to do. It provides fulfillment and healing.” He adds, “I’m
calm, friendly, and intuitive, with a good sense of humour; I like to keep the peace. But I’m also very
passionate; when I get interested in something, I really put myself into it.”

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