Fox. "Foxes are mischievous and playful creatures. It is a joy to watch fox cubs play. I grew up watching the antics of three older brothers. My brothers’ boyish playfulness has lasted a lifetime. This little fox is a symbol of well-developed relationships between siblings."

Lisa Boivin

Lisa Boivin is a member of the Deninu Kue First Nation.

She is an interdisciplinary artist and a doctoral student at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine. Lisa uses digital images as a pedagogical strategy to bridge gaps between medical ethics and aspects of Indigenous cultures and worldviews. She is currently working on an arts-based thesis that utilizes Indigenous ways of knowing to address the colonial barriers that Indigenous patients navigate in the current healthcare system. Lisa strives to humanize clinical medicine as she situates her art in the Indigenous continuum of passing knowledge through images.

About the paintings 

These paintings are living, image-based stories. They are dynamic and will represent many things for many people. I have purposely not painted surgeons and other perpetrators of harm encompassing the sterilization of Indigenous women because I want to focus on the resilience and beauty of Indigenous bodies.

Hummingbird Teaching. “I use Hummingbird Teaching as a metaphor for patient care. In this painting Hummingbird has the responsibility of pollinating an entire forest. Each flower needs a different type of pollen to flourish. Hummingbird must figure out which type of pollen to deliver to each flower. Similarly a healthcare professional deciphers which treatment is to be delivered to each patient. Sometimes no treatment is to be delivered. Hummingbirds and healthcare professionals have the ability to hover and quietly observe. Every patient can flourish even in the last moments of their lives if they feel honoured and respected.”
The Most Sacred Ceremony. “The clipboard represents the process of informed consent. Informed consent is the most sacred ceremony between clinician and patient. This is a ceremony where both parties come together equally and participate in clinical plan that benefits the patient. As such, I have added a Blue Jay because they are careful and clear in their communication. Committed to truthfulness and justice, they sing the sweetest songs, encouraging us to move forward in a good way. Clinicians must develop equal relationships with their patients that free from coercion, with a solid process of informed consent.”
Use the Tools Carefully. “The speculum is covered in flowers. The Blue Jay cautions us to use the tools of gynecology carefully. Much harm has been done in the past. We must remember this and proceed with caution in the future.”
The Warning. “This is an image of a woman’s surgical sterilization. Blue Jays are protectors, they swarm around her anesthetized body singing a song of warning. They are telling her she will soon be separated from her biological fertility. However, even this violent act will not sever her from the beauty and resilience of living in her body which is represented by the flowers and berries growing from her powerful womb.”
What Will Always Be. “Indigenous women are extremely powerful. The ovaries are replaced with strawberries. Strawberry is a woman’s medicine. She is the only berries brave enough to wear her seeds on the outside.”