Every Flower Matters
DON AHNAHNSISI MCINTYRE
Among the Anishinaabe people, this traditional painting form is used like written text to communicate ideas and record events for posterity. Originally a tool for communicating stories of hunting and warfare, this iconic technique allows the artist to supplement an oral tradition to create recorded narratives. Using knowledge of the land, (its plants, animals, and waters) complex ideas are able to be conveyed.
Conifer trees make the soil underneath them more acidic. The decomposed remains of the tree produce long-term soil modification. Soil pH has a direct effect on whether plants thrive or die in a region. The Prickly Wild Rose (Gaawaakominzhiig in Ojibway) is a very hardy plant and considered strong Indigenous medicine. It can tolerate floods, draught and even some acidity, but thrives in a more balanced PH soil with direct sunlight. An over-abundance of conifers will destroy the chances of rose bushes flourishing in their traditional territories.
The title Every Flower Matters is a reference to the recent "Every Child Matters" campaign slogan which used orange shirts to acknowledge the Truth of the Residential schools and the fates of many children that attended them. The Wild Roses represent Aboriginal children within the manifestations of Canadian 'care.' The Indigenous Raven Trickster (also robed in orange and purple) sits in the tree as observer, witnessing the ramifications that the tree is having on the traditional inhabitants of the land. The combination of colors and symbols, including small details like number of white dots, tells a story of the continuing effects of the socio-political, health, economic, judicial, and educational gaps imposed on Aboriginal peoples.
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