BY JULIE CHENG
This spring, look for a new mural at Windermere Secondary School that brings together nature and Indigenous culture. Windermere has received a $20,000 grant from the Betty Wellborn Artistic Legacies Foundation for an art project that features local Indigenous artists running workshops and working with students to paint this mural.
Fine arts teacher Alyssa Reid’s project proposal was inspired from reading Wab Kinew’s The Reason You Walk, a memoir about reconciliation and healing between father and son that may ultimately spark conversation about Canada’s own reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Coincidentally, Windermere’s former vice-principal, Alison Ogden, had once posted outside her office a quote from the same book that Reid “really took to heart.”
The quote reads: “Reconciliation is not something realized on a grand level, something that happens when a prime minister and a national chief shake hands. It takes place at a much more individual level. Reconciliation is realized when two people come together and understand that what they share unites them and that what is different between them needs to be respected.”
Windermere’s aboriginal support teacher, Davita Marsden, suggested to Reid that local contemporary Indigenous artists Sharifah Marsden, Corey Bulpitt and Jerry Whitehead might be interested in working on the project.
“After speaking with the artists we decided on three workshops for staff and students that would give them some grounding and knowledge in Indigenous art that would lead to a large (1,000 square foot) mural on the front of the school,” Reid explains in an email.
“Our basis for the mural is a rooting in Mother Nature that links everyone to the earth and stresses the importance of nature and the earth to our Indigenous people done in the three very unique styles of each artist.”
The workshops started late April, with Sharifah Marsden teaching a beading workshop, Corey Bulpitt doing a stencilling and spray painting workshop, and Jerry Whitehead leading a design question/answer workshop. The painting begins in May.
Julie Cheng is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.
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