Medium: Digital Art
“Life Giver” is a re-envisioning of myself in the Ojibway creation story of Sky Woman and how Turtle Island came to be. A pregnant Sky Woman needed a place to rest on Earth, but the world was covered in water. Turtle offered its back to her, but to make it more comfortable, several animals swam to the bottom of the ocean attempting to retrieve some soil. Marten, Loon and others failed in their pursuits and nearly died. It was little Muskrat that was able to retrieve the soil needed for Turtle’s back, creating Turtle Island (North America). The artwork is within the Medicine Wheel. The circle represents the circle of life and its cyclical nature. The turtle features the turtle (lunar) calendar teachings on its shell. Inside Sky Woman’s womb is my son, Migizi, and the placenta and umbilical cord are connected like roots to Turtle Island, representing his Indigenous heritage. The landscape features some elements of Alberta, including the Rocky Mountains, pine trees, roses and rosehips. There are 7 rosehips, which represent the 7 generations of ancestors. It is important to think about the 7 generations that preceded us (the ancestors) and brought us to the point we are at. It’s also important to think 7 generations into the future and let that guide our decisions so we leave a good place for our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. These coming generations are represented by the 7 roses. Additionally, there are creatures that are commonly found in Alberta, including the wolf, eagle, bison, dragonfly, bees, and trout. In the 7 sacred grandfather teachings, the wolf symbolizes humility, the eagle symbolizes love and delivers messages to Creator as it flies the highest, the bison symbolizes respect, and the turtle symbolizes truth. The bald eagle is also my son Migizi’s namesake. The wolf’s voice of humility reaches out to humanity through a line connected to the line of harmony, which connects all things in this piece of art. The creatures in this artwork represent the two-legged ones, the four-legged ones, the winged ones and the finned ones, which can be found on land, in the air, and in water, respectively. The bees maintain life. The dragonflies represent souls. Some of the animals are shown in the X-ray style, featuring for example 4 ribs. Note the importance of the number 4. Examples include the 4 trees, 4 leaves on the vine, 4 stars, 4 dots. These are related to the 4 sides of the Medicine Wheel and its teachings. Another important number is 7, for the 7 generations and 7 Grandfather Teachings. For example, there are 7 dots leading down from the sun (rays) to Sky Woman’s pregnant belly. Each dot represents a generation of ancestors. The vine wrapped around Sky Woman’s arms suggests that everything is interconnected, and the sun and its rays create new life. Finally, I have included a white buffalo calf, which is related to Lakota prophecy. It is said that White Buffalo Calf Woman will return to usher in an era of great change.