Guelph students learn about Indigenous culture through art

Students at Waverly Drive Public School in Guelph have turned what used to be a plain white wall into a colourful mural.

With the help of Indigenous artist Michael “Cy” Cywink, students drew and painted a mural that incorporates aspects of First Nations culture.

“How much can these kids work with, and what can they learn from,” said Cywink. “The essence of learning and appreciation for First Nations culture and our history.”

The theme of the mural is 'Water is Life.'

“When we’re inside our mother’s womb, we reside in water for nine months. And when we come out, we flow with the water,” Cywink explained.

The mural depicts animals of all kinds surrounding water.

“All living creations, whether they live in the water, in the earth, on top of the earth, whether they slither, walk on two legs or four legs, or even fly, we all need water to survive,” said Cywink.

Cywink has been painting Indigenous murals in schools across the province since the 1980s. He said he’s impressed with the mural students at Waverly created.

Students at the school said they enjoyed working with Cywink and learning about Indigenous culture.

“There isn’t a particular part of it that I enjoyed most, because I and a lot of other students contributed to the wall as a whole. Although we had our own each individual parts, having everything mix together was awesome,” said Grade 8 student Karis Ruppenthal.

“I love that everyday people are going to walk by and see this amazing mural,” said student Eve Arnold.