Above: MCHS Art student Sofia Soria poses with her painting Elders’ Wisdom. Left: A close up of the painting. – Stephen Dafoe Photos
by Stephen Dafoe
Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools chose Grade 10 MCHS Art Student Sofia Soria’s art piece Elders’ Wisdom as the cover art for the District’s booklet Journey in Education for Reconciliation.
Soria’s art was produced last year in art class. She said a poem by Alexander First Nation Elders Edna, and Ella Arcand inspired her work.
“The poem. It carried a lot of forgiveness, and that impressed me in reading it. It was super heavy on the struggles that they had to go through and what happened,” Soria said of the painting’s inspiration in the difficulties the two Elders endured in the residential school system.
In creating the art piece, Soria said she tried to reflect the better days that occurred before residential schools and after residential schools.
“[It’s] about having to go through hardships and stuff and how it changes you as a person,” she said, adding she was pleased that the elders who wrote the poem saw and liked her artwork. Both Edna and Ella Arcand received a print of Sofia’s work.
Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools selected the painting for the cover of the book. It, along with art by MCHS student Morgan Brophy and former MCHS student Kaylee Taylor are also in the booklet.
MCHS Principal Don Hinks said the District wanted to honour the two Elders, both of whom were part of the District’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) Committee.
“One of the things the Elders were hoping to see after all the work was put in by the committee was that there would be some book outlining the things that they went through as they went through residential schools,” Hinks said. “[Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services] Dr. Rhonda Nixon and her team put something together. They were very hopeful that they’d be able to get some student artwork.”
Hinks said he believes Soria’s painting was an outstanding rendition of what she felt when reading the stories of the elders.
“Obviously, something resonated very much with Sofia because she put together something that brought Elders to tears in terms of what came into her mind and actually showed up on canvas,” Hinks said. “It was mind-blowing.”
Hinks said the Elders were humbled to receive a print of the painting.
“They were just so humbled by that, that a student would take the time to not only connect with the story but do something for them in addition to the book itself.”
Soria was also humbled, and surprised by the honour of being chosen as the cover artist for the District’s book.
“I didn’t know it was that great, but everyone was really impressed,” she said.
Attendees at Wednesday’s MCHS Coffee House will have an opportunity to participate in a raffle for another copy of Sofia Soria’s art print.