This piece was inspired by a project for art class, but is has evolved since I first painted it. The painting portrays a First Nations person who has lost their language, their way of communicating with their spirits and their ancestral community. I symbolized this loss by not including a mouth in the portrait. However, there is still a space where the mouth should be as a sign of hope that this individual may someday regain their lost language. The way I see it, the character’s eyes have taken on great meaning in the past few months. By accentuating the eyes and making them larger than they should be, I created the illusion that the individual’s head is narrowing near the bottom, which gives them an alien-like figure. In a more symbolic way, this individual has been alienated from society, much like most of the FNMI communities in Canada. The eyes also give the impression that the individual is observing all that is happening without being able to do anything about it. Given the history of trickery and deceit between FNMI and European communities, I think that FNMI communities have become helpless in a sense. And so, this painting represents all that still needs to be done and serves as a call to action for anyone that sees it. This individual is in need of help and the past horrors they have faced can only be overcome through a respectful cooperation between all FNMI communities and every other Canadian community.
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