The context: Canadian identity is shaped by diverse cultural realities. But what do we really know about our neighbours’ culture? There is nothing like an encounter with the other to overcome prejudices.
Astonishingly, there exists in Canada a little-known community, the First Nations, which has nevertheless lived here for thousands of years. Clichés abound about Amerindians and Metis. Beyond feathers and tanned leather clothing, how do Amerindians and Metis define themselves? First Nations artists express themselves using tradition, the transformation of their ways of life and the cultural hybridization brought about by centuries of integration.

Material required:
• A computer with an Internet connection to consult reference sites
• Access to the site
• An everyday item that can be used freely (it will be transformed during the project and cannot be reused)
• Scissors, glue
• Glue gun
• Any other useful material

Getting started:
Ask the students: What do th Read More

The context: Canadian identity is shaped by diverse cultural realities. But what do we really know about our neighbours’ culture? There is nothing like an encounter with the other to overcome prejudices.
Astonishingly, there exists in Canada a little-known community, the First Nations, which has nevertheless lived here for thousands of years. Clichés abound about Amerindians and Metis. Beyond feathers and tanned leather clothing, how do Amerindians and Metis define themselves? First Nations artists express themselves using tradition, the transformation of their ways of life and the cultural hybridization brought about by centuries of integration.

Material required:
• A computer with an Internet connection to consult reference sites
• Access to the site
• An everyday item that can be used freely (it will be transformed during the project and cannot be reused)
• Scissors, glue
• Glue gun
• Any other useful material

Getting started:
Ask the students: What do they know about Amerindians and Metis today? Where do they live? What sorts of relations exist, in their view, between Canadians and Quebecers and First Nations peoples? Do they think Canadians and Quebecers have prejudices about Aboriginal people? What are they? Can they name some elements of native heritage in their life (words of native origin, foods, place names, etc.)? Have they ever seen or heard about works by native artists (painting, sculpture, film, books, dance, songs, etc.)?
Indigenism is a present-day intellectual movement which demands rights for Aboriginals, who have long been victimized, in different aspects of their lives: language, culture, spirituality, etc. Many First Nations artists use their art to introduce and promote their culture, which is little known by Canadians and Quebecers, or they draw on their roots to create their artworks.
Invite the students to become familiar with First Nations artists in order to get a sense of native reality today: do the first inhabitants have demands? What are they? Do they work with tradition or have they set it aside?

Carrying out the project (in two stages):

1. A picture of native life;
2. An art activity inspired by a work by the Metis artist Brian Jungen: putting an object to new use.
1. A picture of native life
This activity will enable students to discover native lives through contemporary works of art which express the worldview of First Nations artists.

ACTIVITIES:
1.1. Screen a video document which gives a general picture of native reality today, made by an Aboriginal. See the suggestions in the list of resources: Aboriginal 101, for example. Define the three groups which make up Canada’s native peoples: First Nations, Metis and Inuit.
1.2. (optional) Screen a video document made by a young Aboriginal (see the list of resources: the websites of the CBC or Wapikoni mobile). Does the film spell out native demands? What are they?
1.3. Search the exhibition Discover Quebec and Canadian Art for works by First Nations artists (First Inhabitants: see the list of resources). Gather information on the artists: where are they from? What is their artistic background? Do they incorporate elements of their community’s ancestral tradition in their work?
1.4. Employ this information in a discussion on contemporary native art versus ancestral traditions.
1.5. Review: Which prejudices about Aboriginal peoples did your research dispel?

Resources:
Virtual exhibition Discover Quebec and Canadian Art:
Related work: Brian Jungen, Kent Monkman, Karoo Ashevak,Norval Morrisseau Nadia Myre
CBC website, 8th Fire section
• Aboriginal 101 (5:53) http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/8thfire/2012/01/aboriginal-101.htmlBasic information about Aboriginal peoples in a question and answer format.
• What is a Métis? (4:01) http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/8thfire/2012/01/what-is-a-metis.html
• Dispatch: Danielle Mukash: Preserving a Way of Life among the James Bay Cree (7:58) http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/8thfire/2012/01/danielle-mukash-preserving-a-way-of-life-among-the-james-bay-cree.html An Abenaki woman living amongst the Cree in northern Quebec speaks of her life, part traditional and part modern.
Wapikoni mobile
• Directory of films and music by young Aboriginal artists: http://wapikoni.tv/medias/browse/movies/
Land InSights
• A website containing a directory of native artists in the visual arts, music, literature, storytelling and legends:http://www.nativelynx.qc.ca/en/index.html

2. A work of art inspired by a work by Brian Jungen: Putting an object to new use

ACTIVITIES:
2.1. View Brian Jungen’s work Prototype for New Understanding No. 20. Try to determine with which materials it was made. Examine the form, texture and colour of the materials. Discuss the possible connections between the objects used as materials and the finished work. (Why do you think the artist chose to work with running shoes?)
2.2. Read Brian Jungen’s biography and the interview with him.
2.3. Select an everyday object (or several objects the same) to be used in the activity. Turn it every which way; think about what its shape, texture and colour remind us of.
2.4. Cut up or take apart the object. Look at the pieces.
2.5. Assemble the different parts to create a new object. Add materials to complete it if necessary.
2.6. Ascribe a new function to the object. Think of unusual, wacky, impossible or symbolic functions.

Resources:
Virtual exhibition Discover Quebec and Canadian Art
CBC archives: Interview with Kent Monkman (12:41): http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/8thfire/2011/11/kent-monkman-1.html
Cape Dorset, Nunavut: The Epicentre of Inuit Art, video produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization (5:24)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o54y4S-2NHc Scenes of the elderly Kenojuak Ashevak drawing in bed.
Virtual Museum of Canada, National Gallery of Canada, NFB: excerpt from “Eskimo Artist: Kenojuak,” 1963 (19:49).Kenojuak’sprint-making technique. http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/edu/ViewLoitDa.do;jsessionid=43BEA37969C60DB1CD89FA9BA9340FD3?method=preview&format=4&lang=EN&id=452

© 2013, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. All Rights Reserved.

Arrangement of Air Jordan shoes forming a crow’s head, traditionally linked with Haida culture.

Brian Jungen Born in Fort Saint John, British Columbia, in 1970 Prototype for New Understanding No. 20 2004 Nike athletic shoes 40 x 26 x 55 cm (approx.) Gift of Alexandre Taillefer and Debbie Zakaib in honour of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' 150th anniversary

Brian Jungen

© 2013, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. All Rights Reserved.


Video of the artist navigating a misty lake in a canoe made out of wood and aluminium

Nadia Myre Born in Montreal In 1974 Portrait in Motion 2002 Mini-DV transferred to DVD, 1/5 Screen: 64,5 x 31,4 x 3,8 cm: duration : 2 min 21s (looped) Duration : 2 min 21s Purchase the Museum Campaign 1998-2002 Fund.

Nadia Myre

© 2013, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. All Rights Reserved.


Painting evocative of the New France period showing Amerindians and settlers in a complex beaver-slaughter scene.

Kent Monkman Born in Saint Mary's, Ontario in 1965 The King's Beavers 2011 Acrylic on canvas 243,8 x 213,4 cm Gift of the artist and Bruce C. Bailey in honour of Nathalie Bondil to mark the 150th anniverseray of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Kent Monkman

© 2013, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. All Rights Reserved.


Coloured-ink painting showing three loons in profile. The colours are separated by black outlines.

Norval Morrisseau Fort William (Thunder Bay) 1932 - Toronto 2007 Composition with Loons Late 1970s Printed Black and color ink, 33/350 61,3 x 46 cm

Norval Morrisseau

© 2013, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. All Rights Reserved.


A woman sitting on the floor of a modest home pours water into a cup

Annie Pootoogook Born in Cape Dorset (Kinngait) in 1969 Woman Making Tea 2005-2006 Felt pen, wax crayon, graphite 56,5 x 66 cm Purchase, Louise Lalonde-Lamarre

Annie Pootoogook

© 2013, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

Culture and Society (history):

• Discover the diversity of Canadian social groups
• Enrich the knowledge of cultural landmarks and related vocabulary: Amerindian, First Nations, Metis, Aboriginal, indigenism
• Identify key markers of a group’s identity
• Evaluate the artistic or intellectual contribution of individuals and groups to Canadian identity: vocabulary, food, place-names, painting, sculpture, dance, songs
• Examine the transformations of a social group over time

Visual Arts:

• Appreciate works of art from our artistic heritage: works by Amerindian and Metis artists
• Examine works of art and cultural objects forming part of our artistic heritage from a temporal and socio-cultural perspective
• Explore creative ideas inspired by the work of artists
• Identify key elements in the visual vocabulary of a work of art
• Explore the possibilities for transforming an object based on elements of artistic vocabulary
• Create a work of art using materials, techniques and processes taken from the artistic vocabulary
• Redefine the function of the object thus created from the perspective of its transformation

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