A Canadian Nativity

Our latest project in art is finally finished! After weeks of learning about watercolour and landscapes, students painted a modern day nativity scene in a Canadian landscape. The inspiration comes from William Kurelek’s book “A Northern Nativity”. Way back when I was in junior high, one of my art teachers had us reproduce Kurelek’s paintings from this book through mixed media. I took this idea, but instead of having my students reproduce the paintings, I had them choose a province/territory and paint their own nativity scene in it.

Here are some examples of what they came up with:

An view of all the paintings - it was a tight fit!

A view of all the paintings – it was a tight fit!

Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories

The Maritimes

The Maritimes

Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories

Jasper, Alberta

Jasper, Alberta

Northern Alberta

Northern Alberta

Alberta

Alberta

Yukon

Yukon

I posted a description of this project on the board which read:

William Kurelek’s book “A Northern Nativity” depicts Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in a modern day Canadian setting with the central question, “What if he had come today?”

Inspired by Kurelek’s series of paintings, we decided to apply our newfound knowledge of watercolour and landscapes to create our own northern nativity. What would it look like if baby Jesus was born in British Columbia or in the Maritimes?

This is what we imagined.

As it turned out, many students chose to paint Alberta and the Northwest Territories. At first I couldn’t understand why they all chose the same places as each other, but then I realized that their choice of province/territory reflects who they are and their own experiences. Many of them have never even left Alberta and many of my Native students have family who have lived here for generations.  To see this beautiful province painted through different perspectives and in different styles, well I guess you could say it was my first dose of Christmas cheer this year.

Stayed tuned for a future post on our Art Show!

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