"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I acknowledge, with deep respect, that I am gathered on Treaty 7 territory. I acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations. I respect the histories, languages and cultures all the Indigenous peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our community.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Norval Morrisseau Indigenous Woodland Art Project


Woodland Art is a genre of painting among Indigenous artists from the Great Lakes area, including northern Ontario and southwestern Manitoba. The majority of the Woodland artists belong to the Anishinaabeg, notably the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi, as well as the Cree. 

The style was founded, in the 1960's, by Norval Morrisseau, a self-taught Ojibwe artist from Northern Ontario. He is widely regarded as the grandfather of contemporary Indigenous art in Canada. He learned Ojibwe history & culture from his grandfather Moses "Potan" Nanakonagos & collected oral history of his community. Morrisseau was originally criticized for disclosing traditional spiritual knowledge. He signs his work using the Cree syllabics writing ᐅᓵᐚᐱᐦᑯᐱᓀᐦᓯ. Woodland Art explores the relationships between people, animals & plants & is rich with spiritual imagery and symbolism. 


This was a project I did in collaboration with a Grade 8 Literature teacher at my school. They had been studying Indigenous literature and she wanted a creative project to accompany her unit. 

I've taught Woodland Art previously HERE.
This time, instead of black and white ink paintings, we did colour versions using markers. We only had two 40 minute periods to complete this, so I stuck with faster markers.

I introduced students to his work by showing images of his art as well as a couple of videos.
HERE is a good documentary from 1974 from the National Film Board of Canada. 

We discussed the subject matter and his use of colour and line. We then discuss the symbolismsymbolism used. 

 Students then chose an animal(s) and sketched it out onto smooth 8x10" cardstock. They included energy lines, etc. in order to give a true Woodland feel to the work. I have to really emphasize that the animals were to be stylized as some tried to draw really realistic animals. Once everything was drawn, they coloured it with markers.

Some finished Grade 8 artworks:


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