Student displays Indigenous artwork in Port Alberni’s Gyro Park

Student displays Indigenous artwork in Port Alberni’s Gyro Park
Alexandra Mehl photo
Grade 9 student Maddexx George recently completed a public art project on a garbage bin in Port Alberni’s Gyro Park for an art class at Alberni District Secondary. Summer Little and Maddison Lucas are other Nuu-chah-nulth students who undertook the garbage bin painting project in the park.

The artwork of three Nuu-chah-nulth students now adorns Port Alberni’s Gyro Park after an Alberni District Secondary School art class was assigned to paint garbage bins throughout the community.

Maddexx George, Summer Little, and Maddison Lucas decided the theme of their project would be Indigenous art.

“I chose the c̓ixʷatin, which is the eagle,” said George. “I chose it just [because] it’s my favorite animal.”

George explained that in Nuu-chah-nulth culture, c̓ixʷatin (eagles) are spiritual animals.

“It’s the closest one to the spirits,” explained the Grade 9 student.

At the top corner of George’s artwork, he painted the four nations color wheel which represents Black, European, Asian and Native people, each occupying a quarter of the circle, showing how everyone is connected.

It took George nearly four weeks to complete his artwork from a bare garbage bin through to his completed piece in the park.

“People [inPort Alberni can actually see native art and who made it,” said George pointing to his name at the corner of the piece. “It’s real awesome that other people can see my art.”

“I hope they see it and they know that young people still know their heritage,” said George.

Orange and red handprints embellish the front of the bin, where the students collaboratively created an “Every Child Matters” panel.

Though this is George’s first artwork displayed in public, he’s been drawing since he started his schooling.

“I always loved doodling and drawing,” said George, noting that he enjoys creating Indigenous art with sceneries of trees, mountains and animals.

Elders, aunts, and uncles have helped George learn to draw and paint along the way, he said.

For the c̓ixʷatin (eagle), George meticulously dotted paint along the thin lines of his art.

“The best way is just to slowly paint or drawing every day,” said George.


By Alexandra Mehl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa

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