Artwork is not hard to come by inside Carihi, and soon there will be more on the walls.
Carihi Aboriginal support teacher Nicolas Pisterzi recently contacted local First Nations artist Jessica Chickite to ask her to do some artwork for Carihi.
“I think it’s really important to raise cultural awareness here at Carihi,” said Pisterzi. “So for me, art was [one of] the gateways.”
Pisterzi also adds that dancing, singing and drumming will help incorporate Aboriginal culture into Carihi.
The local female artist, who is a former student of Carihi herself, was more than happy to say yes.
“I hope to inspire for sure,” said Chickite. “We are trying to do stuff where there’s stories, so the kids can learn and then [the stories] can stick around for years and years.”
Chickite comes into the school during the day and paints in the multi-purpose room where students can watch the mural’s progress.
“I’ve had quite a few classes come and ask me about this mural,” said Chickite.
The two murals Chickite has planned both have stories behind them.
Her first one is of Dzunukwa – the wild woman of the woods, and then the Raven.
Dzunukwa is said to take children she finds outside of their beds at night. It is a story told by parents to their children to prevent them from wandering around the woods at night.
Chickite has a few more finishing touches to add to the wild woman mural and then she will begin painting the Raven afterwards.
The Dzunukwa mural will be placed in a high traffic area at the bottom of the school’s main staircase.
“I feel like doing this is just [to] basically inspire the younger generation,” said Chickite.
Among the many students that have seen her mural, it has piqued the interest of some.
“There has been a couple of young First Nations students that are interested in learning the art forms … it’s great to have [Jessica] in the school,” said Pisterzi.
Chickite hopes to do more artwork at Carihi in the future. She is also looking into doing artwork at École Phoenix Middle School as well.