Mary Caesar was born into the Kaska First Nation and has been a lifelong resident of Upper Liard, Yukon. Her parents, Alfred and Minnie Caesar, passed on to her the traditional teachings and skills of her people. In the fall of 1999, Mary left her Northern home to take part in the Fine Arts Diploma program at Malaspina University College in Nanaimo, BC. While at school she studied sculpture, ceramics, photography and earth art, as well as painting.
Acrylic paint on canvas has become Mary’s primary form of artistic expression. While her early work was quite realistic, over the years her brush strokes have become more spontaneous and expressive, often leading to expressionistic or abstract paintings. Images from her days in the Lower Post, BC residential school, and her experiences as a First Nation woman, are frequently the subject of her work. Landscapes are Mary’s observations of the Yukon and home. Mary also paints in oils and also works in different styles such as, still life, portraits, Kaska Dena culture and Northern lifestyles.
“My work is my personal response to my past and present environment. It’s really important for me to paint my personal struggles. I feel painting is a part of my healing journey”
Mary has participated in several major exhibitions including, Traditions of Change, Noramerika Native Museum, Zurich, Switzerland, 2005; Nanghághinda (Watch Over the Earth), Yukon Arts Centre Public Gallery, Whitehorse, Yukon, 2003 and Raven Trix, Yukon Art Center Public Gallery, Whitehorse, Yukon, 2001.