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Indigenous Arts & Stories - Preservation of Balance

Preservation of Balance

2013 - Art Winner

Océane Perham

Lorette, MB
Qalipu Mi'kmaq
Age 17

Author's Statement

There are many events I could have chosen to draw, however I chose to illustrate a theme. Only recently I have learnt about my Mi’kmaq ancestry, but I have taken a Canadian history class in my school and if anything, what stood out the most for me was the relationship the Native people hold with life and individuals; their values in life and their need to preserve it.

I illustrated this by referring myself to the Native Circle. I drew an elder (North), an adult (West), a youth (South) and a baby (East). I put an equal amount of both sexes in order to keep them equal and to show that they both hold importance. I made the elder look up as though he sees something we can’t, to represent the spiritual quarter. The woman is looking down caringly and almost in thought, at the child because she is to teach the youth the ways of life and her quarter of the circle represents mentality. Next, the youth has a smile to show its energy and physique and then the baby is sleeping; this makes us relax which is to represent the affective quarter. I then incorporated the symbols of each animal in the correct quarters: the bear, the wolf (a paw), the turtle and the eagle.

To bring everything together I formed a circle with feathers, specifically seven. The symbolism of the seven feathers is one of my favorite parts in my piece because it shows that we as a group of people are responsible of taking care of the next seven generations as the past seven generations were responsible of us. This means we must take care of not only the people but the earth too. I think this is very true, yes people should live their lives to the fullest and enjoy themselves, but how is it fair if we leave nothing left for the next generations?

Last off, I chose to bring everything together with a circle to make it more pleasant to look at and complete, and not to mention because the circle is also very important in the native culture. It represents the circle of life and the continuity of the earth and nature.