Student Spotlight: Harmony in Images

by Dr. Anna Boshnakova

Last semester students in the class Cultural Anthropology, with Professor Anna Boshnakova, worked on a creative project, called “Harmony in Images,” dedicated to Canadian Indigenous culture. The aim of the project was to help students to broaden their knowledge about First Peoples of Canada – their beliefs, customs, art and music. Students researched and presented their visual reflections on a specific aspect of Canadian Indigenous culture.

The creative project explores the idea that everything is connected, and that sounds join things together, as well as the idea that nature and people are part of a totality. Students’ visual interpretations of the notion of harmony (agreement, concord of sound) reflected the collective sensitivity and life philosophy of Canada’s first people history and culture.

As part of the research process, students had the opportunity to meet and discuss in class the notion of cultural appropriation and to learn more about Canadian Indigeneous culture from very special guest speakers, Paula Laing, Aboriginal Initiatives Coordinator (now Manager, Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support) and Elijah Williams, Research Assistant (now Indigneous Initiatives Coordinator) from the Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support. Elijah writes, “I came to the class to present about Indigenous arts and what that meant in the present day context. I showed a diverse set of art forms from different nations such as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Haida, Inuit and Metis art as it had to do with historical aspects of our cultures. I reminded the class to think differently and incorporate the art into their own work to create something different with that historical influence. I cautioned them to stay away from the stereotypical notions of what Hollywood portrayed us to be and I think it’s obvious as to what that is. Our cultures are diverse and rich and we have a lot to be proud of as Indigenous peoples of this country.”

Below you will find samples of various students’ “Harmony in Images”.

Image: Daphne Chen

Image: Jade Poon

Image: Dylan Pereira

Image: Maeve Howard

Image: Michelle Guan

Image: Rachel Gorman

Image: Reid Ferguson