|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||History Discrimination Arts Community|
Historic suffering, oppression, and conflicts have been the constant figure in the lives of indigenous Canadians. The massacre of the aboriginal lives at the hands of the settlers through the introduction of diseases such as chickenpox among others, the Highway of tears series of killings, infamous incidents like the Oka crisis, the vice of alcoholism, disappearances of aboriginal women, suicide, abuse, and, ceaseless rapes had upset the indigenous society. That is when the aboriginal people resorted to painting and writing. Such things gave them the freedom to express themselves fully without criticism; for instance, of an indigenous writer by the name, of Beth noted that book and creative painting was medicine to the people of Canada by then. This paper focuses on the works of Christi Belcourt, who was a mischievous visual artist and one of the writers from the Manitou Sakhigan. Like other indigenous performers and creative artists, Belcourt used her original work to express herself and the feeling and opinions of her fellow people. Her creative work mirrors the all-pervading presence of memory and recollection for the indigenous people of Canada. It repeatedly brings out the long-lost traditional practices, sealed with contemporary methods and innovative art forms. Thus, this paper will conduct a discussion of how the works of Belcourt are the canvas on which the personal histories of the aboriginal communities interconnect with the national history of Canada. Besides, it will look at her creative works through which they tried to rewrite the history of Canada. Her entire collection of visual arts and performances are not only the tools of opposition and expressions of healing but through these, they also effort to mandate a place for themselves in conventional Canadian art and culture. In other words, one can claim that much of Belcourt's work concentrates on questions around identity, place, culture, and divisions within communities.
Belcourt is a Michif from the Metis Nation. Her people come from a place known as Lac Ste Anne; the original name was Manitou Sahkahigan, which means Spirit Lake. The area is spiritual in that it hosts pilgrimage annually. It is a community that is around a lake and shared space with the Metis people. As an indigenous artist, most of her work dealt with the beauty of the natural universe and culture indigenous worldviews on natural and spirituality medicines while examining nature's symbolic features. Following the culture of Metis floral beadwork, Belcourt utilizes the subject matter as metaphors for human existence to depend on diversity meanings, which comprises concerns for biodiversity, environment, indigenous rights, and spirituality.
According to Ziersch, Gallaher, Baum, and Bentley (2011, 1044), indigenous individuals' experiences are omitted frequently in discussions of racism and anti-racism. The reasons for this exclusion typically comprise reasoning that claims for the unique histories, policies, and current situations influencing the lives of aboriginal people. While recognition is vital, these omissions may contribute to continual writing out of the indigenous encounter of racism, violence, and disregarding, along with the approaches employed to address and resist the same realities.
Although recognized as primarily as a painter, she has, for years, also been practicing traditional arts and working with hides, beads, clay, wool trade, copper, wood, and other materials. Therefore, Belcourt is inspired by the beauty of the natural world and traditional Indigenous worldviews on innate spirituality and medicines. Additionally, she has written a book Medicine to aid indigenous people. The book consists of centuries-old healing traditions of Metis women. Perhaps, Becourt challenges society to think of the artist as separate from the individual and to reflect on art as linked with the multicolored fabric of life. And she challenges the community to walk tenderly in careful consideration of where and how we step.
Through works of artists such as Belcourt seek to resist the stories spread on several issues such as pipelines, federal, municipal, provincial, and government, who were the critical group undermining indigenous self-determination. Her artworks are in line with Gestalt theory of creativity that claim that an individual aesthetic sensitivity facilitates him or her to select the only choice tabled among multiple-choice; thus, proving that creativity starts with an understanding of the problem in society (Amendt-Lyon, 2001, 255; Rogers, 1954, 260 ).
Thus, Christi Belcourt's world has real significance in indigenous culture and visual art. The first thing that made her work noticeable is the utilization of beads, a traditional symbol. In the 1800s, the Metis started creating large quantities of beaded items to support their familes and, because of this, they became known as the flower beadwork people. Flower beadwork is one of artistic legacies left to indigenous by their ancestors. In her visual art, beads have always held a very vital connotation for the indigenous people. Wampum, a string of beads made of them, would be utilized as a symbol of exchange, a record of historical occasions, a token of friendship, or even as a pledge at the end of the covenant. Her use of bead led to depth understanding of their people culture, their worldview, and spirituality, as it associates to the natural world such painting is known as painting, is a mirror.
In the Wisdom of the Universe, she uses beads to express her environmental worries endangering nature and their natural species through this creative painting. Belcourt's comment regarding the art claims that it is time to set the right of the environment ahead of the rights of the earth. That was the objective of her painting as she features several threatened and extinct living things being of Canada using the masterpiece, making young people aware of their conventional past and arouses their love for nature. Over two hundred species of animals and plants, in Ontario, are considered as threated or extinct, several of these species have been included in this painting. The Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, the Dwarf Lake Iris, the Cerulean Warbler, the Karner Blue butterfly, and Acadian Flycatcher are witnessed in the art (Brague, 2003, 21). A portion of reading from her website says that Christi utilizes a dab method that leaves the paint raised on the canvas - as though it were a dab. When inquired as to why she picked plants as her motivation, she answered that plants and animals had mended her, to make me entire as a person, and a profound being. She added that plants have spirits; they are alive similarly like human beings. They have shown her the interconnectedness of all things and about having regard for everything that exists. Everything is entirely needy upon the plant world: the creepy crawlies, the creatures, and us. Individuals are the weakest in creation since they need everything else to endure.
One of the things by inspired Belcourt is the mystery of her people. The creative painting of Belcourt is "Bloodletting: Does This Make You Feel Better about Who I Am?" as an artwork that presences discrimination that indigenous people of Canada were facing. This artwork is a depiction of herself on canvas. She has dawn herself while seated on a chair holding an eager feather. On edge, there are cigarettes and beer bottles. On one of the arm, she has outstretched, there are many cuts on there, and it is over top of a bowl with blood flowing, filling up the bowl with blood (Short, 2013, 5).
According to the artists, this paint was inspired by her visit to one of the art conferences where somebody felt irritated owing to her (a non-status Indian and Michif) presence (Foster and Barnetson, 2017, 80). Consequently, she has imagined herself on paper as a visible marginal articulating her anger and frustration at that and illustrating how many like he had to go through similar handlings because of their indignity. The discrimination is present in this case is described by the author as "the divisions that we've come to identify with are colonial constructs of identity," she said. "They are not who we are ... [as] nations of people. We are sovereign nations, but we haven't been able to practice our sovereignty because of the divisions of provinces, the divisions made by the Indian Act, the divisions that were created, and caused, first of all, by the treaties (Fiola, 2015, 5).
Concerning the author's resistance is visible in her holding on the traditional approach and practices of making art and issues regarding native lives that she articulates about. Through her artwork, she airs out the victimization of many of innocent native lives. Results of colonization among indigenous people is the adoption of these indenters and employing against each other, that is an old divide and conquer trick of colonists.
From the Wisdom of the Universe, it is clear that the artist's practice overall channels the massive effort of resisting, self- organizing, and share knowledge on the land with the space of the gallery yet works to decenter the colonial contemplation inherent in these conditions. Moreover, Belcourt's work could be defined as not only burgeoning but also conciliatory of cultivating relations through connected networks, which are place-base, otherworldly, and inter-species, and in turn shows through strength, beauty, and wonder which other (to colonial capitalist) approaches of being concerning one another and to the earth are both possible and exceedingly critical.
Striking and powerfully illustrative art communicate the burning matters facing Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island today. Issues associated with accessing to clean water, the protection of the land, and its resources, as well as the surviving of Indigenous languages and the welfare of children from child services, are just a small fraction of the challenges the Canadian government and its settler citizens have placed on Indigenous communities. Her artwork is evidence of artwork is a sudden inspiration that results from deep thought. This implies that inspiration cannot be witnessed when continuous self-sustaining efforts are not present. A mental theory of creative art proses this belief. Kozbelt, Beghetto, and Runco (2010, 30) claim that the mental theory of creative work suggests that the process of artistic creation is the product of the mind that is attained by a mature mind seeks to the lesson and the pursuit of the artist.
Amendt-Lyon, N., 2001. Art and creativity in Gestalt therapy. Gestalt Review, 5(4), pp.225-248. Retrieved from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/gestaltreview.5.4.0225
Brague, R., 2003. The wisdom of the world: the human experience of the universe in Western thought. University of Chicago Press. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=kyb6c6GD9FYC&o
Fiola, C., 2015. Rekindling the sacred fire: Metis ancestry and Anishinaabe spirituality. Univ. of Manitoba Press.
Foster, J. and Barnetson, B., 2017. Who's on Secondary? The Impact of Temporary Foreign Workers on Alberta Construction Employment Patterns. Labour/Le Travail, 80. Retrieved from: http://www.lltjournal.ca/index.php/llt/article/view/5867
Kozbelt, A., Beghetto, R.A. and Runco, M.A., 2010. Theories of creativity. The Cambridge handbook of creativity, 2, pp.20-47. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=1EBT3Qj5L5EC&oi
Rogers, C.R., 1954. Toward a theory of creativity. ETC: A review of general semantics, pp.249-260.Retrieved from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/42581167
Short, J., 2013. All of my blood is red: Contemporary Metis visual culture and identity. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/...
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