by Zara K., Grade 10 student

This past month, my grade 10 art class completed a project using ceramic feathers, graciously donated by the Ottawa Guild of Potters, to create a collage of gorgeous mini artworks. We decided to pay tribute to Indigenous peoples and the land on which they have lived for millennia. In Indigenous culture, feathers often signify respect and honour. After discussion, we felt that it would be meaningful to show the natural landscapes of Canada on the feather, a symbol of Indigenous culture. 

Each student painted two feathers, depicting either the land and animals of Canada or representing aquatic animals and water. The project was student-led, and our class chose both the project, subject matter, and marking system. This is similar to Indigenous systems of learning, where the teacher guides the students and there is a focus on collaborative learning. We evaluated ourselves on teamwork and participation. We worked together from the beginning to choose the concept and see it through. We glued the feathers, sanded and painted the wood board, and arranged the feathers in a snowflake pattern we designed. Thanks to Ms. Lim who took the time to cut and glue a wood board for the base! The project is our way of showing respect to the Indigenous groups who demonstrate ways to appreciate the land we are on, and it’s our effort to move towards reconciliation. 

Keep an eye out for this artwork to be on display in the fall, somewhere in a common area!