Tantallon student’s artwork recognized
Halifax Herald - July 3, 2018
By SUZANNE RENT
A high school student from Tantallon represented Nova Scotia at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s Imagine a Canada event, a national arts and leadership initiative that was held in Winnipeg in May.
Lucy Little, a Grade 11 student at Sir John A. Macdonald High School, submitted a drawing of four hands holding onto a heart that included a map of Canada inside. The artwork was created using coloured pencils.
“Meeting all the people was really interesting,” Lucy says. “I liked travelling to Winnipeg. That was really cool.”
Imagine a Canada is organized by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. Lucy and her parents, Kevin and Kim, travelled to Winnipeg where Lucy presented her artwork and gave a brief speech on her project. Lucy also took part in leadership training in Turtle Lodge, an honoured place of Indigenous learning and workshops led by youth. They also attended a water ceremony.
The students who were honoured from each province had their artwork displayed at a reception at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, where they all had a chance to explain their art. Lucy says other students did poetry, writing, digital art and collages.
The trip was a surprise for the entire family. While transportation and accommodations were provided for Lucy and one guardian, the Littles decided they’d all attend. Lucy’s parents never saw the completed artwork until the reception in Winnipeg.
“It was quite something to see it,” Kevin says.
Lucy takes a class in Mi’kmaq studies at school for her history requirement and says most of the work is project based, so she has a chance to do a lot of drawing and painting. Her teacher encouraged her to submit an entry.
She says the trip to Winnipeg expanded on her knowledge of Indigenous history, including the impact of colonialism on the First Nations people in Canada and what life was like before European contact.
“We studied residential schools since Grade 4, but we didn’t really know what was taken away,” Lucy says.
The workshops the family attended included survivors from residential schools in Canada.
“It’s one thing to hear on the news or to read about the experience of a residential school survivor, but it’s quite another thing to have the person sitting beside you, who’s 70, who experienced it as a child,” says Kim. “It’s quite profound.”
Lucy has been working on art since Grade 7. She likes drawing cartoons and video game characters. For the last couple of years, she’s created Christmas cards for the Brunswick Street Mission. The cards are sold to raise funds for the mission.
“It’s something I enjoy doing,” she says. “It’s fun to do and I can multi-task by watching Netflix and sketching at the same time.”
Lucy says truth and reconciliation is a message that is a big lesson for us all.
“It’s something for everyone in Canada to think about,” Lucy says. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to try to understand what happened and what needs to be done.”