“My Name Was” Series – Residential School Narratives

My Name Was Number _ Series - Installation View
My Name Was Number _ Series – Installation View – SDVA Gallery, Barrie ON

This series of paintings were narratives taken from stories of Nipissing elders who had attended residential school. A prevalent theme throughout each story was that their names were taken away and they were assigned numbers. Food was also prevalent in each story and was often used as reward or punishment. The stories of each painting from left to right are told below.


 

My Name Was 41: Pick But Don’t Eat the Strawberries
Indian Yellow Ink and Oil on Panel
30″X40″
2014

Survivor named number 41 “number 41 pray louder!!” recalls that they rarely were given fresh fruits. In the summer they were allowed to go and pick strawberries, but they weren’t allowed to eat them or they would be punished. They were never served the strawberries they spent time picking.


 

My Name Was 51: I Didn’t Drink My Tea
Indian Yellow Ink and Oil on Panel
30″X40″
2014

Survivor named #51 recalls a time she didn’t drink all of her tea at dinner. As punishment, the next day the entire row of girls were served only bread and water.


 

My name was 50: An Orange and Six Hard Candies
Indian Yellow Ink and Oil on Panel
30″X40″
2014

Survivor  named #50 recalls that she only knew it was Christmas because on that day they were given “An orange and six hard candies” along with breakfast.


 

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