May 3rd, 2016 by Jan

We love going to yard sales and flea markets. We wander through them, pick stuff up and nine times out of 10 we put it all back down, and move on.

Every other Sunday there is a parking lot flea market in downtown Sechelt. Ken looks for tools and I like cheap books and kitchen gadgets. Rarely do we buy anything, but we like to look.

This last Sunday, a table of art work caught my eye. I had never before seen art work that told such a good story.

It’s not rare to see the artwork of First Nations people here. After all, The Sechelt municipality takes its name from the Coast Salish Shishalh people, who first settled the area thousands of years ago, and means “land between two waters”.

There’s a lot of talent here.

The art work that stopped me in my tracks looked like a needle felted painting. Inuit art, stories from the Arctic. Incredible, simple and breath taking. There were three or four original pieces on the table, a couple of framed prints, and a variety of printed note cards.


A very small, toothless and grinning, wrinkled, old woman, sat shyly by, as her husband spent time telling me about her.

He was very proud. He said she had been born in an igloo in Northern Quebec on the Hudson Bay. A short bio was printed on the back of the cards. I was spellbound. He showed me a scrap book full of news clippings, photos, and letters praising her work. One letter was from the Queen on Buckingham Palace letterhead. He showed me photos of her in full Eskimo regalia in a ceremony with the RCMP, at a celebration to do with the launching and return of the St. Roch. A big deal in Canada.

I looked her in the eye as many times as I could. I thanked her, offered my hand, and gushed. She didn’t speak, she gave a humble nod, a huge toothless smile, and her thin, fragile hand. I walked away very moved, wishing I had the budget to buy more than a few cards from her.

As we walked away, I told Ken there had to be a misprint on her bio. On the back of her cards it said Annie Aculiak E92347 was born on May 20, 1958.

I was born on the same day in 1955! If it wasn’t a misprint then that would make me three years older than this wrinkled, very aged, and frail woman.

When we got home, the first thing I did was google Annie Aculiak E92347. I just knew something was wonky between the woman I was reading about and the one I had just met.

What I read, broke my heart.

Once again, if you EVER hear me grumbling about my life — you have permission to kick me in the shins really hard!

3 thoughts on “AculiakArt

  1. Sheila

    Such a heartbreaking story – amazed that people can be so awful for no reason. And such beautiful elegant art!

  2. Michael K

    Love my prize. “in 1998 she was lured to Vancouver BC with a promise of a better life only to end up in harms way “…. i suppose I am naive, but i do wonder what that sentence means.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *