Students from 100 Mile House Elementary are sharing their Indigenous art with the community in the lead-up to National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.
Their show, titled Indigenous Celebration Art, opened at Parkside Gallery on May 27 with a student-led drum opening and poetry reading. A celebration of Canadian Indigenous Culture, the show features various art pieces from every class at the elementary school and will run until June 25.
Penny Reid, 100 Mile House Elementary’s First Nations classroom support worker, said the show was previously held over two days in the elementary’s gym to coincide with National Indigenous Peoples Day. However, they decided to hang it at Parkside at the suggestion of teacher Carolyn Cushing.
“It has always been my belief that art, in any medium, is a great jumping-off point for so many discussions. I think that if students are having fun doing art, they are more likely to remember the conversations that you have at that time,” Reid said.
She noted this is the first generation that is really learning about Indigenous culture.
“We have the opportunity and responsibility to share what we are learning. I hope that the students will retain some of their learning and pass it on.”
Her students created different kinds of art, using materials such as animal hide, wood, stone, sinew, and canvas and paint.
For many of the students, this is their first art show. Matisse Alfaro, a grade seven student who made a stained-glass turtle, said “(the show) is scary, but I also like it.”
Michael Jori Sawyer-Ned said she was “happy that the art is in here” as she enjoyed making her painting and bookmark, which was inspired by the book, The Giving Tree.
Reid said she was happy with what the students had created.
“The kids are so proud of their creations and can’t wait to show them off. I’m sure everyone will leave with a smile.”