Welcome to Aanji, a canvas where stories and art merge like the hues of a prairie sunset. I'm Angie, the heart behind this venture, and I'm thrilled to share this space with my sister Vicky, who brings her artistic flair and marketing expertise to our family-run endeavour. Aanji is more than just a business; it's a journey of cultural rediscovery and revitalization.
Since its inception in 2019, Aanji has been an evolving dream. What began as an idea for an Indigenous stock photography site gradually transformed into a platform for sharing inspiration and digital art. As a business student and entrepreneur, I was taught to prioritize logic over intuition, but my heart yearned to create without constraints. This led me back to my first love – art.
Digital art, with its unlimited possibilities, captivated me. I delved into the world of vector graphics, experimenting with various tablets and software. This exploration was not just a pursuit of passion but also a healing journey, helping me navigate grief and loss. Art became my sanctuary, allowing me to process unspoken sorrows and find peace.
My art journey is deeply rooted in my heritage. My ancestry is a tapestry woven from Anishinaabe, Cree, Scottish, Ukrainian, and Métis, converging at the historic Red River. It's a lineage of resilience and strength, and through Aanji, I strive to honour it. I told my great auntie that I wanted to be part of revitalizing Indigenous language, but didn’t know what language to use. She said, “Use the language my mother spoke.” Of course, that’s what I should do!
We named our store using the language of my great-grandmother, Anishinaabe, choosing 'Aanji' – a word signifying change and renewal. It's a nod to the past and a beacon for the future.
In every piece of art you find here, there's a story whispering to be told. My creations are reflections of my Indigenous identity. Each stroke feels like a step toward cultural revitalization.
Through art, I'm reconnecting with my roots, learning and embracing the wisdom of my ancestors, and contributing to the narrative of wellness. What better way to respect and care for the people I love and cherish than by taking care of me and my wellness? I become more present, more in the moment, and more compassionate. This is what art gives me.
This journey is also about strengthening family bonds. Working alongside my sister, we're not just building a business but rekindling our relationship. In times of division, we choose to focus on love, unity, and the shared passion that brought us here.
Aanji is more than a collection of artworks; it's a tribute to self-discovery and healing. It's a space where Indigenous voices rise, where stories of the past weave into the present, and where each creation is an echo of our enduring legacy.
Join us on this journey through Aanji. Let's celebrate our heritage, share in our stories, and find joy in the beauty that surrounds us. As my granny always said, let's be proud of who we are and where we come from.
Thank you for stepping into our world. May your experience at Aanji be as rich and vibrant as the heritage we cherish.