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PAUL WHITTAM – NEGIK, STAR OTTER

PW

 

Statement:
This piece is meant to be a bright representation of how we can deal with the subject of residential schools and how to go about dealing with the subject with a good heart. The Man, the boy and the sunset are meant to be the focal point of the piece. Let us make a painted image of the past to share with people new to this subject. How do we deal with and teach youngsters about the past? With a good mind. 

The tree filled with the blue and red symbols represent past ceremony, games and teachings that are being reborn and re-ignited with projects like these. Many of these traditions were lost with the introduction of the residential schools. These traditions can be re-learned and shared to bring them back, thus reducing the damage of residential schools on our present and future generations.

It is our responsibility to bring these lost teachings to the new generations. We have to use our inner child mixed with the knowledge of an adult to share these lost traditions. We also have to be sensitive and caring when talking about the damage residential schools caused while exposing the truth of these schools.

There is much symbolism in the entire piece that can be looked at, discussed and contemplated. There is a silhouetted degree of sadness. The overall larger image of the sun rising or setting should be looked at as positive. The generations to come will know the legacy of these schools and the survivors who made it through. The four directions are there to show us our life cycles and remind us of the time in which new and different generations will have to discuss these issues surrounding residential schools.

Bio: 
My work is meant to heal through colour, shape and form. I am a self-taught artist, although I have had some formal training through the Georgian College Art Fundamentals program and a few courses taught through Trent University while obtaining my Indigenous Studies diploma and my honours degree. I have had a passion for art since I was a small child and have considered it a labour of love for many years. My own personal style is derived from that of Norval Morriseau and Daphne Odjig, just to name a couple who I idolize. My style is a little more contemporary, utilizing bright, vibrant colour combinations, and often I use pop culture to convey my stories. I also try to use realism in some of my pieces. I tell stories through my work. My stories and those stories that people share with me.

I have had some recent success with a full 20-piece feature show at the Ojibwa Cultural Centre on Manitoulin Island. I also have a current smaller feature at The Canada Summit Centre in Huntsville, Ontario. I won the people’s choice award at my local hometown gallery, The Midland Cultural Centre. I was recently featured by the CBC in a story how I found my birth mother after 30-plus years through the use of traditional healers.
I feel that all of these wonderful events and opportunities are generating some amazing things within myself that allow me to create my energetic dynamic pieces, and I am thankful to the Creator for my gifts.

“I want to make paintings full of colour, laughter, compassion and love. I want to make paintings that will make people happy, that will change the course of people’s lives. If I can that, I can paint for a hundred years.” Norval Morriseau

Baamaapii.