'First Nations people, we have these beautiful ideas': Prince Albert teen tells cultural stories in community mural
SASKATOON -- A high school student in Prince Albert is exploring her First Nations culture through a community mural.
Jordan Twist is in Grade 12 at Carlton Comprehensive Public High School and is from James Smith Cree Nation, which is about 60 kilometres east of Prince Albert.
She’s working on a mural at the South Hill Mall, along with a separate collection of art, as part of an extracurricular course called Collection Builders for Social Justice.
The initiative aims to get student art into the public eye through mentorship. Earlier this year, the school received a grant for youth leadership, which went towards purchasing art supplies.
Twist is working on the project during her own time, as extracurricular activities at the school have been cancelled because of COVID-19.
Twist said the mural represents the importance of things like storytelling and family in the First Nations culture. The mural shows people taking fish to a family with a baby.
"The people feed the caretakers and the caretakers take care of the child. It's just so important that we recognize that even though you're not part of the family, you can still help in their growth,” said Twist.
The mural also contains image of sacred animals, such as raven, and a teepee.
There’s also a bear, which Twist said represents a mother as it looks over the caretakers. Additionally, the bear and the baby have fish inside of them to show that everything is interconnected.
Twist is being guided by her dad Chris, a graphic artist, and teacher Melanie Mirasty.
"When we look at a lot of the protests that are happening around the world, it's the youth who are standing up and saying things,” said Mirasty.
“I just want to be the conduit and I want to be the mentor and I want to be the person who is just the guide by the side to ensure that this can happen and that their voice can be heard.”
Collection Builders for Social Justice, also known as Carlton Collection Builders, began after Maria Hirsi approached Mirasty for mentorship on her art collection called 11 Main Street. The collection gives viewers a glimpse at the walls of her reserve home basement, filled with doodles, graffiti and games of Xs and Os.
Twist thanked Mirasty and her father for their mentorship, saying it can be difficult to take on such a large project on your own.
“They really helped me see it in kind of a bigger perspective,” she said.
"First Nations people, we have these beautiful ideas. I just really wanted to share that with other people.”
The mural is expected to be complete in a couple of weeks. In total, the project will take about one month.