An artist from B.C.'s K’ómoks First Nation is using "Star Wars" characters to raise awareness of political issues facing aboriginal people.
Andy Everson, 40, grew up in Comox loving Darth Vader, Boba Fett and C-3PO. Today, he's using them as a way to relay misgivings about the B.C. Treaty Process, negotiations that see governance of Indian reserves transferred from the federal government to First Nations themselves.
Though a number of First Nations praise the treaty process, it is widely criticized as a mechanism that erodes aboriginal rights established under Canadian law.
"There's an inner conflict for me about where we're going as First Nations in regards to our culture," Everson told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview.
The artist puts Northwest Coast aboriginal designs on "Star Wars" characters and includes an explanation of how they represent parts of the treaty process.
A rendition of Darth Vader represents what he calls the "dark side" of politics.
"Our leaders are elected, and people that get into politics generally have good intentions, but a lot of it gets corrupted and there's a lot of corruption that happens at that level once they've found that power," Everson explained.
A representation of Yoda, meanwhile, is meant to represent the "wisdom" of aboriginal elders.
"In aboriginal communities, traditionally we listen to our elders, and we respect them and look for their advice," said Everson, who has a master's degree in anthropology.
The limited edition prints have already proven very popular with art collectors. Three "Star Wars" pieces Everson created in 2011 have already sold out.
His 2012 collection, which paintings of Darth Maul, Yoda and a stormtrooper, remain available at Hill's Native Art in Vancouver's Gastown.
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