Arts Alive in Living Sky

Stories Re/Visioned

Welcome to our blog documenting the TreatySmart project called “Stories Re/Visioned”.  Students and teachers from Living Sky School Division will work with guest artists to interpret our stories of who we are. Stories about culture, identity, beliefs and values will be retold and illustrated through masks and dance.

We are a country of many cultures, living side by side – but how well do we know one another? What does it mean to say “we are all treaty people”? Students from Spiritwood and Wilkie will be matched up – First Nation, Metis, non First Nation – and with the artists will share their stories about identity and culture. How do the Arts help us give expression to these ideas? As we share our stories and our art, do we make stronger relationships and build understanding between all nations?

What is your cultural identity and your story?

How can we share our stories through our art?

(masks from guest artist, Douglas Witt)


Other Canadian Artists

Look at the artwork of other First Nations artists from Saskatchewan and Canada as you prepare to make your own creations. What images and symbols are important to you as you consider identity and culture?

Neal McLeod is an art historian, painter, poet and filmmaker and is from the James Smith Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan. McLeod teaches Indigenous studies at Trent University and for the previous ten years at the First Nations University of Canada, Regina.

Known for creating culturally rich imagery and his use of in your face high chroma color, George Littlechild is recognized as one of the foremost First Nations artists working in Canada today. He is also the author / illustrator of three children’s books including the award winning publication, This Land is My Land.

Internationally-acclaimed Edmonton artist Jane Ash Poitras is one of the fastest rising stars in the Canadian contemporary visual arts firmament. Indian legend has long foretold that the birth of a white buffalo would signal the dawn of a positive new era for North America’s First Nations. That birth occurred in Wisconsin in 1994, and has attracted pilgrimages from Native leaders who have made the journey to Wisconsin as a tribute to this legendary omen. This print is in response to the legend.

Beyond Buckskin is a blog that writes about fashion and First Nation designers.

Check out these cool shoes with  a traditional influence.

Louie Gong is Nooksack, Chinese, French and Scottish, and a Canadian living in the US, Gong is actually a cultural-identity activist first. He designed these shoes as an expression of his unique cultural identity. He refers to it as walking in two worlds and you can read more about it in the article.

Traditional arts are seen in designs in clothing and objects from the past and in contemporary fashion design. These moccasins were made about 1750. Gerald McMaster, curator of contemporary Indian art at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, grew up on the Red Pheasant Nation (near Wilkie) and wrote about these artifacts. He is also an artist.

Norval Morrisseau

Born in Fort William (now Thunder Bay), Ontario, 14 March 1932
Died in Toronto, Ontario, 04 December 2007

“I go to the inner places. I go to the source. I even dare to say, I go to the house of invention where all the inventors of mankind have been.”
– cited by Donald C. Robinson in his introduction to Norval Morrisseau Exhibition: ‘Honouring First Nations’ (Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto, 1994)

The artist Norval Morrisseau (Copper Thunderbird) is the first Eastern Woodlands artist to translate his culture (that of the Anishnaabe or Ojibway people) visually, through acrylic paintings, prints and drawings accessible to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. He invented the pictographic style, now used by three generations of Aboriginal artists. Morrisseau learned Anishnaabe cosmology from his shaman grandfather, a member of the Midewiwin religious society, and Christianity from his Catholic grandmother. He studied his Anishnaabe heritage intensively, becoming a shaman. His art draws upon Midewiwin birchbark scrolls, rock paintings and Anishnaabe decorative arts. In the 1970s, Morrisseau studied holistic Eckankar spirituality. Through his travels in Northern Ontario, and through the printmaking Triple-K Cooperative in Red Lake, he has influenced many First Nations artists, including Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray, Joshim Kakegamic, Roy Thomas, Saul Williams, and Blake Debassige. His published works include Legends of My People, The Great Ojibway (ed. Selwyn Dewdney) (Toronto, 1965).





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