Students learn colours and culture from First Nations artist

Moses Amik Beaver directs students in painting a giant, First Nations-style picture.

Students at Holy Family Catholic Elementary School got a special art lesson from an acclaimed First Nations artist last week.

Moses Amik Beaver visited a Grade 8 class for several days, sharing his culture and directing the students to paint a large mural in his “woodland” style. He taught by example, mixing colours and patterns with a brush in each hand.

The Holy Family students learned to look for stories in Beaver’s multi-layered paintings and also jumped enthusiastically into making stylized animal masks from paper.

Beaver is a self-taught artist from an isolated reserve near Hudson’s Bay. He visits many schools to teach students about First Nations art, which is used to tell stories and explain spirituality, he said.

“I’m just here to guide them,” he said. “I didn’t tell them what to do, just how to do it. It gives them a sense of creation.”

The visit was funded by money designated by the Catholic School Board for aboriginal cultural education.

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