Carla Rae Taylor, a Deline visual artist and illustrator who spent a long time living in Yellowknife, visited Ecole William McDonald School on Wednesday to create a work on the wall outside of the school.
She came to gather ideas from the young students.
This project lets students express themselves creatively. It gives Northern students the opportunity to work with local Elders, artists, and knowledge keepers — to learn from them and create a mural collaboratively.
Taylor decided to look for help from the students, who she describes as having the purest mind and purest imagination, with less focus on self criticism and more focus on the pure art itself.
“They’re interested in the project,” Taylor said. “Great workers (and) there is a variety of interests between them and it is a kind of great mix.”
This project is also a part of her journey to learn and share the knowledge, culture and wisdom of Northern communities.
She has spent time in other communities before her visit, and was surprised by the stories and legends the Elders told her.
“It’s just amazing to bring some of the images that come from those stories with us.” she said.
The project also related to an idea from Christal Doherty, an author who hails from Deline and who’s now a teacher in Yellowknife. The things that both of them thought were really important in Dene culture were included within the project.
Andrea Harding, regional Indigenous languages and education coordinator with Yellowknife Education District No. 1, said she was impressed with what she had seen.
“Carla has done a fantastic job, modeling the creative process, and sharing this with students,” she said. “As an experienced artist, we are very fortunate that she is sharing her knowledge and skills with our district.”
As of right now, the mural project does not have a name. Harding hopes the creative process will help the students eventually land on one in the near future.