Mark Guiboche: An Artist in Our Midst

Published on : 7/21/22
  • Meet Mark Guiboche, a security lead at the largest Energy & Resources remote campsite located in Manitoba. He is also an accomplished Indigenous artist from the Bloodvein First Nation. 
    Guiboche has been with Sodexo for almost seven years. He graduated from a law enforcement security training academy within the first five years of working at the camp and has been training the teams ever since.  

    His contributions to the quality of life on-site go beyond his dedication as a security lead. His artistic talent comes into play as well. Several of Guiboche’s traditional artwork is scattered throughout the camp, and, with the support of the management team, he has shown great initiative in organizing close to two dozen painting classes for the workers.


    Art at Work

    And the team embraces and supports his artistic endeavors. With around 85% of the workers being Indigenous, Guiboche says it feels good to work with his peers: I think I make a difference and have a big impact, as I relate to a lot of what goes on in the camp. A lot of people know me. I’m friendly and I have customer service skills, so it is easy to get to know me. I lift people up when they are feeling down and do as much work as I can.

    The painting classes were initiated through the CIP, or Council for Indigenous People, the employee resource group. “They approached me to start teaching our classes here and I did one and it really took off. Everybody enjoyed it. Everybody just kept wanting more.” 
    I took the initiative to volunteer my time and work during the day and then go teach art at night, Guiboche says.    

    It’s not always easy, given the schedule on remote sites. Employees generally work 21 days on location, followed by 7 days at home, then back to 21 days again. But Guiboche’s passion drives him. “You figure I would relax, but no. I’m still busy doing my art. And I’m still busy until I come back to work. I do make time for myself, but I just have this drive to continue with my art and keep going nonstop,” he says.  


    Art as a Driving Force

    Originally from Bloodvein First Nation, Guiboche now resides in Selkirk, Manitoba, a small community 30 minutes away from Winnipeg. From Bloodvein, I moved to Winnipeg, [but then] I moved out to Selkirk because I was so used to the country, so I wanted to get a taste of that.

    The wilderness and country life has been driving the inspiration behind most of his work, even though lately, his work has been shifting to more traditional imagery. “I was brought up around water. I was brought up around bushes and wildlife scenery. So I try to incorporate that in my paintings,” he says.   

    Guiboche has been painting for most of his life. A self-taught artist focusing on mixed media, he says creating has had a therapeutic aspect. That was my way of coping with the transition of moving from my community to moving to the city, and it helped quite a bit.

    But it took decades before he started getting recognition and selling his artwork. “It’s honorable to get recognized, finally, after 30 years. It’s worth more than any money you could imagine,” he says.


    Art for the Community

    Guiboche’s artwork has been so well-received that he has contributed numerous pieces to the camp, including a monument for the dam being built on-site. While excavating on the site, a “pothole rock” was found. Guiboche and two other artists collaborated on imagery inspired by the shapes and craters formed on the rock. A lot of the Indigenous artwork I do is actually going to stay here, which is really nice, he says.  

    But Guiboche isn’t only sharing his passion on the remote camp. His community in Selkirk also benefits from his talents. 
    Mark Guiboche, security lead, Energy & Resources, says:

    It just seems like art follows me everywhere I go. I’m just blessed that way.

    In a local park in Selkirk, Guiboche collaborated on a mural celebrating endangered animals of Manitoba — Canada’s first contribution to an international endangered species art project. The 100-foot mural, created by 13 local artists, features 34 endangered and 23 threatened plant and animal species.  

    Guiboche also teaches art in the local schools. He has given art classes to 4,800 children at most of the schools in Selkirk.

    Working full time and making art can be exhausting, but for Guiboche, being home and sitting at his kitchen table inspires him. “That’s like my peace time. That’s my quiet.”  

    Learn more about Guiboche’s work on his Facebook page or search for his name on Google. “I never thought I would be on Google when I first started with my art. That’s pretty neat,” he says.