Mural depicting Punnichy’s Indigenous culture dons regional college wall
- EFN Staff | May 30, 2018
A mural that showcases Indigenous culture of Punnichy Region was unveiled last week. The mural is intended to inspire learners at Carlton Trail College’s Four Winds Learning Centre in Punnichy on May 23.
“Our goal was to ensure local Indigenous heritage and spiritual beliefs were portrayed in a way that would inspire our learners,” said CEO of Carlton Trail College Shelley Romanyszyn-Cross in a media release. “Our College staff worked closely with local Elders, Knowledge keepers and representatives from the four surrounding First Nation communities and the Touchwood Agency Tribal Council on this project.”
The event featured an Elder blessing, description of the mural’s symbolism, artists’ recognition and an overview of the project.
Elder Irvin Buffalo blessed the mural, the Four Winds Learning Centre, the students and staff and Elder Shirley McNab described the symbolism depicted in the mural.
“This mural is very symbolic and meant to encourage everyone who comes here,” said McNab. “The centre medallion represents education and shows an Elder teaching a young one. The eagle represents pride, courage and truth. The bear represents bravery. The wolf signifies teamwork. The buffalo symbolizes strength and the ability to survive. The four seasons, four colours, four directions, four winds and the four surrounding First Nation communities are also represented.”
The College collaborated with Elders, Knowledge Keepers and representatives from George Gordon, Kawacatoose, Day Star and Muskowekwan First Nations, Touchwood Agency Tribal Council and the Village of Punnichy to develop the mural for the Four Winds Learning Centre. Nicola Finnson, Carlton Trail College program facilitator, recognized the contribution of the artists who painted the mural.
“The group chose Joseph Pelletier and Brent Fisher as lead artists,” said Finnson. “They facilitated a series of workshops with local amateur artists to gather ideas for the project and designed and painted the mural. They did an amazing job.”
One of the artists, Joseph Pelletier from the George Gordon First Nation (GGFN), started painting when he was 15-years old. He works with many different mediums such as acrylic, oils, pencil, etc. The artist instructed art for two semesters at the Lebret Residential School in the area of Native Art Symbolism. He has also worked with Albert Native News and Western Women’s Journal doing artwork and fillers. He has painted hundreds of pictures and has sold many of them and one of his previous mural projects can be seen at the George Gordon Arena.
Another artist from the GGFN, Brent Fisher, adapts his inherited artistic skill to many different types of artist projects like antler carving, portraits, scenery, murals, etc. He participated in the Saskatoon Community Youth Arts Program where he received additional training as a commercial artist and had participated in three mural projects in Saskatoon which includes the mural at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge. Fisher was involved in his first mural when he was a grade six student at Scott Collegiate in Regina. The accomplished artist has held shows at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon.