On March 15, 2017, we held an event at our office to celebrate the completion of our newest art project, a community star blanket.
The art piece was an idea thought-up by the Project’s Parent Guide Group – a group of parents and caregivers living in the North End. They wanted to create a traditional Indigenous star blanket and have it decorated with art created by community residents from all around the Point Douglas neighbourhood area.
Submissions for the blanket were collected throughout 2016 by visiting different non-profit organizations and community events around Point Douglas. The group asked the question “What do we need in order to maintain healthy relationships with our partners, families, and community?” and what was created was a diverse mix of drawings and words that covered a variety of topics, both straight-forward and abstract.
These drawings were then scanned and turned into digital designs to be printed onto transfer paper and ironed onto the blanket. The result was an art piece that reflected the neighbourhood in which it was created – a diverse mix of contributions that came together to form one cohesive design.
We were lucky enough to be honoured with a song by one of our students, Carla Kirkpatrick, and a teaching from Elder Cheryl Alexander, who provided the background and ceremonial meaning of the star blanket.
She taught us that the idea of a star blanket holds many parallels to The Winnipeg Boldness Project, in that it symbolizes a child at the centre of the star with layers of people and systems around the child, keeping it safe. Each of the individual diamonds that makes up the star design represents a piece of knowledge that the child will learn throughout its lifetime. The 8 points of the star provide balance, with 2 points in each direction (North, South, East, and West) symbolizing our grandmothers and grandfathers, and day/night.
Blankets can be a ceremonial gift as well, used to show respect and honour, which seems very appropriate for this purpose as it shows an immense respect for the North End community and the people living here, and demonstrates the strong community spirit and pride that its residents have for their home.
The blanket will soon tour the city by being displayed at several community spaces for public viewing. If you’re interested in having the blanket displayed in your community space please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
If you would like to see more photos from our event, visit our Facebook photo album here.