As a boy, I was fascinated by Northwest Coast Art, specifically totem poles. When I lived on 101 Reserve in La Ronge, there would be these shows depicting totem poles on some nature show I cannot remember. I am not sure if there were any totem poles on the old CBC show, The Beachcombers. Google is not helping either, but anyway I loved that show.
Haida art has so much amazing artwork. The Northwest Coast tribes must of has more time on their hands than my ancestors did, because many of the works looked time consuming to create and they used many different media, “wood, metal, horn, bone, leather and other objects” (https://spiritsofthewestcoast.com/collections/haida-art). Today, there are so many ways to view this type of art, many young people today take it for granted that they can just Google what they want to see. My family at 101 Reserve had National Geographic and an encyclopedia series called, The New Book of Knowledge, I loved reading and looking at the pictures. I think my parents might still have a copy of one of them, I will have to ask when I visit them again.
When I was a student at Kitsaki School (now Senator Myles Venne School), we were given an art project assignment. Naturally, with my fascination with Haida art, I created a face on a soft log (soft as in slowly rotting). I made it similar to what would be a part of a totem pole. I painted it up with water paint. It did not look very good because I am not an artist, but I was proud of it. I enjoyed creating things like that because creating things was always on my mind. I just never developed an artistic ability.
When the project was done, I took my mini-totem pole home to show it off top my parents. One day, I decided to go play outside, like I always did, and left my totem pole in the living room of our over-crowded house so other people could look at it. When I came back in from the bitter cold, I could not find the totem pole I was so proud of. Later that day, I found out that it had been thrown in the stove. Oh my poor little heart was broken. We had been running out of wood and it was decided by someone that my precious art project could warm-up the house. It was a rotting log, and I doubt it drew much heat as it slowly burned to ash, little by little. I did not cry, but I was very disappointed.
In the last year of my teacher program, I did an assignment on Bill Reid, “an acclaimed master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer, broadcaster, mentor and community activist” (https://www.billreidgallery.ca/pages/about-bill-reid). His artwork was and is amazing. I received a good response on the project, and I even created a lesson on making one of his works on play dough (attached). That lesson received a very good mark in the art class. You do not need to be an artist to create great lessons for art class, you just need to appreciate great artwork and the time it takes for a dedicated artist to create such wonderful work.
Arts Education Lesson Plan (this plan is incomplete but can be customized) – lesson-plan1-type
I have a presentation, however, I cannot share because of copyright issues. There are links below if you want to view his work.
Whale Image by Cecil Law from Pixabay
Totem Face Image by paudhillon from Pixabay
2nd Totem Face Image by paudhillon from Pixabay
Stove Fire Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
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