The Inter-generational Métis Artist Mentorship Project
© Prince Albert Daily Herald
Castle, left, and Dorion, right, at the Living Giving Tree install
Funded by the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Leadership grant from SaskCulture and Saskatchewan Lotteries
In 2019 the Mann Art Gallery launched a small artist in residence project with Leah Marie Dorion. Leah's work with the Mann Art Gallery has been resulting in great successes with community-based programming, with Moss Bag and Plains Style Ribbon Skirt workshops. In spring of 2020 Leah's artist residency was strengthened by offering more opportunity to partner and utilize her arts leadership.
Leah decided to take on a mentorship relationship with young local Métis artist and visual arts educator, and current acting gallery educator, Danielle Castle. This apprentice and mentor relationship gives Leah the opportunity to transfer cultural and artistic knowledge within the community. Through a mentorship model, Leah with Danielle, and the Mann Art Gallery, will create a 5 part series of temporary public art installations throughout the city of Prince Albert. The goal is to bridge Métis culture through the power of positive message to bring people into a good state of mind through these public art installations. In this mentorship Leah will work closely with Danielle Castle, teaching her how to plan, produce, install, and implement interactive public art installations.
The project consisted of 5 temporary outdoor art installations:
1. Giving Tree with Red River Cart Wheel Teachings
July 10th - August 13th, 2020
Dorion and Castle created a soft pastel mural on the sidewalk outside of the Mann Art Gallery entrance, showcasing Métis values and teachings from Leah Dorion's book, The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Metis Story.
2. Living Giving Tree
July 17th - August 13th, 2020
Dorion and Castle brought life to Dorion's story, The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Metis Story. The artists gave honour to a Grandmother Tree in Kinsmen Park during the live installation, decorating the Grandmother Tree with ribbons, granny cloth, prayer feathers and Métis bubbles of love, which showcased Métis values.
3. Willow Labyrinth
July 24th - August 13th, 2020
Dorion, Castle, Elder Curtis Breaton, Dorion's son Louis and assistant educator, Ethan Walder created this temporary willow structure at the Alfred Jenkins Field House.
This labyrinth became of a meditative path for the public to come and enjoy during the pandemic of COVID-19.
4. Métis Buffalo
July 31st - August 8th, 2020
For this install, Leah and Danielle, put 13 buffalo on the river bank rotary trail in Prince Albert. Each buffalo focused on each Métis value and was led by Creator. 9 of the buffalo were created with the youth camp at the YWCA.
View full details and gallery here.
5. Wind Horses
August 7th - August 8th, 2020
The final temporary art installation with Leah and Danielle. They showcased 15 horses painted with Michif and English with the Métis values. For two hours they tied ribbons on the horses and did some painting while engaging the small gathering that came to the event.