Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Because He Lives We Can Face Tomorrow

OVIDE BIGHETTY is a Cree (Missinippi-Ethiniwak) self-taught artist originally from Pukatawagan First Nation on the Missinippi River in north western Manitoba.

Ovide began his career as a painter while in High School. “My teacher was really frustrated with me. She said “I’m tired of you sitting around here and doing nothing. I’m going to bring something in and I want you to take a look at it, maybe this is what you need,” he recalled.. His teacher brought in a painting by Norval Morriseau (see blog 1/11/13)  and that single painting sparked something inside him. “Those colors and that style just caught my eye right away. I just picked up a paint brush and  just started painting. I copied that painting I don’t know how many times, just over and over and over again.” It took some time to understand the technique and style that Morriseau used; however Ovide was determined to learn as much as he could. “Once I caught on, I just started doing my own designs.”

Following high school, Ovide worked from commercial fishing to the technology sector to working with youth, but art remains the center of his being. He enjoys sharing his works around Turtle Island and the many gatherings he’s attended and he continues to create images based on spirituality, stories, symbolism and legends passed down by elders.

A traditional teaching of Aboriginal people in Canada is that before Europeans reached the eastern shores of Turtle Island, their elders had visions of people coming from the east with messages from the Creator. Inspired by that tradition, he was was commissioned  to create a series of paintings depicting the visions of those Aboriginal elders.

The Last Supper
In 2002,he was asked to create 'The Creator’s Sacrifice’. This series of 17 images in acrylic on canvas presented the Easter story in Ovide’s unique Woodland Cree style. "Kisemanito Pakitinasuwin - The Creator’s Sacrifice-  tells this foundational Christian story of Jesus’ death and resurrection - the story that makes all things new. Its vibrant imagery, familiar to some and unfamiliar to others - both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal—invites us to re-imagine how we think about and live out the relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Through these works of art, the Spirit of our Creator invites us to live in new ways - in re-formed relationships of peace and friendship."

In 2006, Ovide completed his second commission, ‘Steps Along the Red Road Following Christ the Creator’. These multimedia pieces feature images integrated in shadow boxes constructed of birch, Plexiglas, and Baltic birch plywood.

For each commission, Ovide consulted with elders from Pukatawagan and in the urban communities of Regina and Winnipeg where he painted the commissions. A significant challenge was to depict the teachings in a way consistent with both Aboriginal symbolism and the Biblical sources. He said such art  takes time to create because it’s important to capture the essence of the story and interpret it without changing its meaning.

"We desire to live as our Creator intended - in reconciled relationships of peace and friendship. Yet there are powerful forces that would keep us stuck in cycles of broken relationships. Some of these—entrenched stereotypes, prejudices, racism—live in our own hearts. Others, such as inequitable funding for education and child services, inadequate funding for housing and community infrastructure, lack of proper consultation for land development and failure to equitably share resource wealth, are systemic injustices that remain part of the way Canadian society is structured. Broken relationships today follow the paths of brokenness in the past, and continue to cause brokenness in the future; we reap what we sow."

Creating a New Family

"As Christians, we know that we are not limited by these powers inside of ourselves, in our communities and in our societies. Our Creator sent his son, Jesus, to make possible a new way of living in relationship with each other—a way of peace and friendship. Jesus’ death and resurrection set us free to rid ourselves and our communities of unfair prejudice and racism, and to challenge unjust policies, practices and structures that allow poverty and exclusion to continue. Indeed, Jesus’ death and resurrection enables us to form and re-form relationships of peace and friendship."

Finding the paths of reconciliation begins with relationships of peace and friendship. reForming Relationships provides space for these relationships to begin and to grow.

Eagle Spirit

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