Newsmakers: The Poet

Erik Mandawe

Erik Mandawe, BA’17 (Music), was recently named by the London Arts Council (LAC) as its first Artist in Residence in 2017. Like the music he creates, he is an ever-shifting landscape. He studied anthropology in Siberia and Toronto, graduated with a music degree from Western and is currently enrolled in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry en route to a career in medicine.

Mandawe became an avid and accomplished athlete in volleyball, basketball, climbing, marathon running and ceremonial dancing. At the same time, he developed an interest in art with lessons in classical piano that morphed into classical and flamenco guitar, as well as photography and film-making.

But his art called him and he enrolled at Western as a part-time student while he also took on a staff role as Indigenous Liaison Admission Coordinator with Western Indigenous Services. He graduated this spring as a Gold Medalist – the highest grade-point-average among students in the program – with a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Music (completed in two years).

He hopes to become a surgeon, although he is aware of both the pull and push that may lead him into becoming a community physician in Indigenous communities.