Jay Bell Redbird was born August 31, 1966, in Ottawa, Ontario. He is the son of proud parents Elaine Bell (late) and Duke Redbird. Jay is a member of Wikwemikong, Unceded Indian Reserve.
As a founding artist and co-owner of Rebird Gallery, Jay was a self-taught artist, who grew up surrounded and influenced by world renowned artists like Jackson Bready, Norval Morrisseau, his uncle Leland Bell and his father, painter, poet and writer Dr. Duke Redbird.
“I paint from my heart and soul, viewing Aboriginal people through their life ways as they once lived and as they strive to continue to live as loving, caring and peaceful people. The teachings and stories I have learned flow onto the canvas expressing ideas through my detailed, woodland style of art. A style that I connected with as part of my history passed down from generation to generation.
“I paint legends and dreams, bringing to life the animal spirit and the spirit of all creation. My lines do not tell the story of prejudice, they follow the Red Road, Mino Bimaadiziwin as I do following the teaching of the Three Fires Midewiwin Society”.
As a teenager, Norval Morrisseau talked to Jay about the colours and their meaning and how they are expressed in Aboriginal language, history and culture. His uncle Leland showed him techniques and shared traditional teachings and stories. His father Duke Redbird encouraged Jay to put his art out there to share the beauty of Aboriginal culture.
Following these formative years, Jay continued to learn and find his own unique voice through his paintings which are vibrant in colour, stories and symbolic meaning.