Sheryl Fremlin’s painting The Lost Children has joined Parkside Gallery’s permanent collection. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Sheryl Fremlin’s painting The Lost Children has joined Parkside Gallery’s permanent collection. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Lost Children painting respects the past

Sheryl Fremlin’s artwork has joined Parkside Gallery’s permanent collection

The Lost Children by Sheryl Fremlin has joined Parkside Gallery’s permanent collection.

Fremlin created the piece last summer following the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residental School. Since then hundreds of unmarked graves have been found at residential schools across Canada, including at St Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake.

“It was deeply moving what happened. I could just feel how horrible that would be for the families not to know what happened to their children,” Fremlin said, adding she was shocked by the discovery. “I think The Lost Children serves as a reminder to people in the community to respect what’s happened in the past and the Indigenous people for their strength.”

Parkside Gallery said it purchased The Lost Children to remind people of the truth and invite conversation about the topic of residential schools. It will hang at the top of the staircase indefinitely along with a plaque acknowledging the building is built on the traditional territory of the Secwepemcúl’ecw People.

Fremlin incorporated multiple elements into her collage-style painting. Its base depicts the school itself with dozens of white crosses arranged on the lawns before it. However, Fremlin said beneath the surface, one will see the scene is painted upon old treaties, the Indian Act and headlines from the graves’ discoveries.

“I included a lot of archival photographs I found (from the school) and I painted memorial totems on either side of the painting,” Fremlin said. “That’s the thing I like about the collage, you can build your image and give it layers.”

The painting was originally hung at Parkside Gallery last summer as part of the Cariboo Artist Guild’s annual show. Fremlin said the painting made an impression on many of the gallery’s volunteers, especially because of the current nature of the subject matter.

Fremlin said she was surprised but honoured that they purchased the painting for their permanent collection. She’s hopeful it will promote discussion.

“I’m grateful that people look at it and it makes them think.”



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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