I was asked to work with Amber Trails School to create a project with the theme Identity. It was a part of a 3 year initiative to get the kids thinking about their Identity and what they value about their community. It was also funded generously by the Manitoba Arts Council through their Artist's in the Schools Program.
My portion was the last project in the initiative, with prior years having other writers and visual artist's visit the school for a period of time to complete their own projects.
First I had an initial meeting with the school teachers involved to brainstorm and we came up with the idea of Turtle Island. We all inhabit the same community as we do North America. Identity was the message with the understanding where we are from and where we feel at home.
It started with the kids (Grades 3-7, 162 Total) thinking and writing about these key elements: Nature, Family, Culture, Emotional, Spiritual, Mental, Physical.
Once they wrote about how each element related in their lives I had them draw on rhombus's (Diamonds) that would be placed onto a mural which we would all participate in making.
It was important for them to write and express what they were feeling before we started to draw. This ensures they know what to draw with meaning.
Once each class completed their rhombus drawings they filled them with colour while we prepped the mural boards. It is 13'x13' square. We applied the outline and had the kids fill the blank spaces. I added the black outline and finishing touches. I have never had such an experience. It was full-filling and inspiring.
Upon completing the project I was then asked to attend an honouring assembly for the work I had done. Miigwech Amber trails School!