Creating A New Family by Ovide Bighetty
On this Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., I thought I would share a link to an art project from the Christian Reformed Church in Canada that could be seen as a model for reconciliation among Native and non-Native American Christians in the U.S. I would suggest that it would be even more beautiful to see something collaborative done between artists from both of these two groups here in the U.S., but I think that an important part of that process would probably involve them working separately as well, as in this example.
I hope to write more about the reForming Relationships art tour in future posts, but thought I would go ahead and at least make you aware of it in the meantime. Please check out the wonderful images painted by Cree artist Ovide Bighetty. Indian Metis Christian Fellowship commissioned Bighetty to paint this series of paintings called Kisemanito Pakitinasuwin - The Creator's Sacrifice.
From the reForming Relationships art tour website:
About the Tour
The reForming Relationships art tour is a catalyst for building and re-building (forming and re-forming) relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. It provides opportunities to learn about Aboriginal history and culture, about the history of relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada, and about the current lived experience of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. It creates space for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to meet and get to know each other, to engage in constructive dialogue, and to build bridges of understanding. In short, reForming Relationships is a place for fostering relationships of peace and friendship.
The way it works
The reForming Relationships art tour is a series of community-based tour stops. It began in October 2011 in Saskatoon, SK and will travel to locations across Canada over the next two years. (For a full listing of confirmed locations, see the Schedule). A small group of organizers at each tour location plans all the details of the local tour stop, with the shared goals of creating opportunities for learning and building relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. This art tour is part of the Christian Reformed Church’s Aboriginal Ministry in Canada.
|The Last Supper by Ovide Bighetty|
Why is this necessary? Re-forming relationships
Our Creator made us, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, to live in peace and friendship. For many years after we first met on the shores of Turtle Island/North America, we did just that. But along the winding paths of history, relationships of peace and friendship have broken down and the covenant of treaties have not been kept. Attempts to systematically eliminate Indigenous culture and identity, to assimilate Indigenous peoples into dominant Canadian culture, guided policy formation and practice, leading to all manner of harm and injustice...
The situation in which we find ourselves is indeed complex, but not impossible to overcome.
|Injustice for the Just by Ovide Bighetty|
As Christians, we know that we are not limited by these powers inside of ourselves, in our communities and in our societies. Our Creator sent his son, Jesus, to make possible a new way of living in relationship with each other—a way of peace and friendship. Jesus’ death and resurrection set us free to rid ourselves and our communities of unfair prejudice and racism, and to challenge unjust policies, practices and structures that allow poverty and exclusion to continue. Indeed, Jesus’ death and resurrection enables us to form and re-form relationships of peace and friendship.
Kisemanito Pakitinasuwin - The Creator’s Sacrifice tells this foundational Christian story of Jesus’ death and resurrection - the story that makes all things new. Its vibrant imagery, familiar to some and unfamiliar to others - both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal—invites us to re-imagine how we think about and live out the relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Through these works of art, the Spirit of our Creator invites us to live in new ways - in re-formed relationships of peace and friendship.
Finding the paths of reconciliation begins with relationships of peace and friendship. reForming Relationships provides space for these relationships to begin and to grow.