Indigenous artwork on display at the Alberta Aviation Museum
An art exhibit featuring Indigenous lunar cycles is on display at the Alberta Aviation Museum.
The work, created by several students from an Edmonton school, is part of the exhibition We Are All Flying Together.
“It’s amazing,” said Koda Bugler, an 11th grader. “I never thought in a million years that I would have my art in a museum
“It was so amazing to connect with my culture,” added Haylie Nahamko-White, a Grade 10 student. “It was an amazing opportunity to connect with so many people in the community…and so many other students that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
“I feel so honored to be a part of this.”
The museum reached out to the Amiskwaciy Academy in Edmonton for an Indigenous perspective on flight. Students in the school’s art club came up with the idea of using the native lunar cycles because the cycles feature a number of bird-related titles.
“For Indigenous people every month is its own moon, for Frog Moon the reason it’s called Frog Moon is because in April you can hear the frogs croaking in the background,” said Chase Gordon, a 7th grade student.
Nahamko-White’s piece depicts the Frost Exploding Moon, a time of year when the cold creates cracks in trees.
“The painting, the idea behind it was actually taken from a Cree storybook that I had read,” Nahamko-White said. “What it is is a bear hibernating in an ice cave and above you can see over the snow and the birch and I’ve beaded the parts where the crack starts.”
“It’s cool to see how much this land is really connected to language and I think it’s really special, not all languages have this level of depth and symbolism and connection,” Stephanie added. Sakkab, the teacher who runs the art club at the academy.
“For me, as a non-Indigenous teacher, it’s really powerful to learn this and it’s an act of reconciliation.”
It is hoped that the exhibit will be a bridge connecting Indigenous and Western cultures, creating a welcoming space for all, according to Sakkab.
“When the guests come to the museum, they not only have the opportunity to see the multimedia works of art, but they also have the opportunity to listen to the voices of the students and learn a bit of shouting. The voices of the students will explain the name of the moon pieces they made,” Sakkab said.
The work will be exhibited at the museum for a year before returning to school. Sakkab added that they would welcome the opportunity to work with the museum again in the future.