As an extension of their current studies in Native Cultures, Richland’s Grade 5 students have been exploring the work of First Nation’s artist, Norval Morriseau. Earlier this year they read Native legends, and visited The McMichael Gallery and studied the Woodland School of Art, of which Morriseau is the most renown. The students returned inspired by Morriseau’s painting technique, as well as the symbolic connections captured in his work.
We spoke with one of the Grade Five students, Alexander, who shared his insights on the painting style and technique of Morriseau.
“Norval Morriseau painted on butcher paper, using primary colours. His bold use of flat colours allowed him to create shapes within shapes, which he connected symbolically. We are painting on the same paper, and using the same materials as he used. Right now I’m outlining and drawing the power lines Morriseau did in black, which gives the painting a stained glass effect, and allows us to connect shapes.”
We also spoke with another Grade Five student, Anastasia, who shared the narrative of her Morriseau-inspired painting:
“My painting tells the story of this bird. The bird was able to wave her wings, and when she did this things would grow. One day the bird was sitting, when a boy spotted her. Everyone went to see the bird, but they were afraid of her. They thought she was dangerous, so they cut her into pieces, killing her. One boy collected all the pieces and put the bird back together – that’s what the lines are in my painting. Now when she waves her wings she creates fire. Unfortunately, the bird could no longer see through her eyes – which is painted red in my painting; she can now only see through her soul.”
Inquiring Minds will continue to share the Native Cultures explorations of the Grade Five students as they further investigate, and are inspired by, Canada’s First Nations.