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Woodland Arts Festival - Norval Morrisseau - A Born Artist

June 23 – July 6, 2008

Debajehmujig Theatre Group arts animators have been engaged for several weeks by the Red Lake Heritage Centre as they celebrate the Woodland Arts Festival and the work of local artists like Norval Morrisseau.

Performance – Norval Morrisseau – A Born Artist

After several months of research and preparation, the following group of artists presented their collective creation on the life and work of Norval Morrisseau from the point of view of his wife and his family. The performance was a moving tribute – an honour ceremony – recognizing the role of the artist, the family, and the community in the evolution of this great Canadian artist.

Barry Beaver, Joahnna Berti, Catherine Cheechoo, Gregory Hoskins, Matthew Manitowabi, Joe Osawabine, David Osawabine, Josh Peltier, Bill Shawanda, Kristen Wakegijig, and Jessica Wilde.

2 Week Training Residency and Festival Animation

Debaj Arts Animator Josh Peltier delivered a visual art intensive with 18 participants at the Red Lake District High School. The focus of the project was to explore the art student’s identity and relation to their community, and to transfer this interpretation to a group mural.

Arts Animators Bill Shawanda and Jessica Wilde delivered a theatre art intensive with 22 participants engaging in improvisational theatre and story weaving techniques.

Outreach director Joahnna Berti worked with Catherine Cheechoo and Bill Shawanda along with 12 participants, in a multi-disciplinary residency exploring the legacy of Norval Morrisseau for the youth and emerging artists, native and non-native, in Red Lake and the surrounding areas. The outcomes of the student and emerging artist explorations were disseminated at the festival.

The two week residency culminated in a public performance of their newly honed skills and an unveiling of the mural, for a gathering of 220 viewers. During the festival, artists and students engaged in additional animation of the walking tours, the exhibition, and the opening of the festival itself.