Manuel Axel Strain is an interdiscliplinary artist with Musqueam/Simpcw/Inkumupulux ancestry, based in the stolen, sacred and ancestral homelands and waters of their Katzie/Kwantlen relatives. Although they attended Emily Carr University of Art + Design they prioritize Indigenous epistemologies through the embodied knowledge of their mother, father, siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents and ancestors.
Creating artwork in collaboration with and reference to their relatives, their lived
experience becomes a source of agency that resonates through their work with
performance, land/water, painting, sculpture, photography, video, sound and installation.
Their artworks often can articulate a strong and complex autobiographical brace, tackling
subjects such as ancestral and community ties, Indigeneity, labour, resource extraction,
gender, and Indigenous medicine/life forces. Strain uses their art practice to confront and undermine the imposed realities of colonialism. Proposing a new space beyond its oppressive systems of power. They have contributed work to the Capture Photography Festival through Richmond Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery, and more distant places across Turtle Island.