Monday, June 24, 2013

cultural art cards

One of the clear messages from our guest speakers over the last month has been to remind our Blair students to hold on to their cultural background and to be proud of it. Author Nicola Campbell included this message when she autographed a copy of one of her books for the school.
The speakers also talked about their families' re-embracing of their traditional culture as a way to move forward from the damaging effects of residential schools. Language, taking part in traditional celebrations, singing and creating art are important aspects of aboriginal cultures. We looked at art cards representing BC animals by BC aboriginal artists and learned about what different animals represent to different cultures. We also looked at the book This Land is My Land by contemporary aboriginal artist George Littlechild of the Cree First Nation and his collage style of art.

To help the students connect to the importance of their own cultural backgrounds, the students were asked to think of an animal or symbol of importance to them from their own culture. Using inspiration from the BC animal art cards or George Littlechild's work, the students drafted a drawing and then created their own art cards. The students included information about themselves as the artist on the back and titled their artwork and explained what it represented to them.

The students were very engaged in this project and many commented they wanted to frame or put their art cards up for display at home. It was such an empowering way to bring closure to our study of residential schools in Canada.

~Ms Novakowski

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