If you aren't familiar with his work, we're honoured to introduce you to Philip Cote, MFA: Artist, Activist, Ancestral Knowledge Keeper, Historian & Cultural Mediator ... and most recently, Fluf Model.
We met Philip over Instagram exactly a year ago today, on September 30, 2021. It was Orange Shirt Day, and the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and we reached out to Philip to suggest a collaboration together. We were drawn to the beauty of Philip's work and, in equal measure, to what he teaches and the stories he tells.
Philip's murals depict Indigenous history, the wisdom of the land and animals, and the 'Seven Grandfather Teachings' - and are hard to miss if you live in Toronto. They are all over the city: inside elementary and high schools, on the sides of massive buildings in high-traffic neighbourhoods, on concrete slabs holding up subway platforms.
The 8th Fire and Original Family - Mural by Philip Cote, Summer 2021
We were thrilled to hear back from Philip within the hour. He was game, and the bag collab was on.
There was an exchange of artwork, and we settled on some version of Philip's representations of the Seven Teachings - a set of Anishinaabe principles to guide human conduct for living a 'Good Life': Love (Eagle), Respect (Buffalo), Bravery (Bear), Truth (Turtle), Honesty (Raven), Humility (Wolf) & Wisdom (Beaver).
Over the course of the next few months, the colours were narrowed down (screen printing restrictions!), artwork was turned into bag samples, samples were finalized, and the Philip Cote Wolf Eagle | Humility Love bag was born.
Zipper Lunch Wolf Eagle | Humility Love. Two sides; same bag.
100% of the proceeds of this bag will be donated to Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Center, a cultural agency that involves and serves the Indigenous community in Toronto. This charity was chosen by Philip, and it is an organization that he is personally involved with.
It was such a pleasure working with Philip on this bag!
Philip Cote and Fluf Founder, Nathalie Butterfield, meet on September 19, 2022 when the bags finally arrive in Toronto. Philip plans to give them to his grandchildren ♥︎