Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spirit Never Dies

During the winter of 2004, my wife and I were living in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The coming summer was being prepared to celebrate the history of the first settlers of this province. “Acadie 300” was the name of the celebration to recognize the Acadians and their 300 year history.

A neighbouring village was completing the construction of a brand new museum for this reason. They organized a National art contest to award the winner the opportunity to paint a large mural within the museum. When I heard about this event I became very excited and immediately I began to sketch ideas for my submission. Soon enough, I learned that I would not be a finalist in this competition.

Months later, my wife and I were preparing to return home to London, Ontario. After we were settled I had time to listen to the nagging that I heard in the back of my mind, telling me to bring my ideas for this painting to life. My painting was created to honour the memory of the early settlers AND the memory of our two and a half year stay in Nova Scotia.

In 1755 a war broke out on the seas and land of Nova Scotia. Both the British and French wanted this beautiful land of farmfields, forests and lakes for their own. Armies were sent throughout this land to gather all the Acadian settlers onto boats to be deported to the Americas.

Families were torn apart, villages burned to the ground and many people died of disease during the harsh winters. Many years later, some survivors returned only to find that their lives had been changed into stories found in our history books. This painting tells their story…

A beautiful morning sunrise graces the Atlantic shoreline. Dark clouds of oppression are moving into this region to blot out the sun. In the foreground you will notice a pair of military boots that have been extremely exaggerated in size to symbolize the might of the armies. In the far distance a black ‘snake’ appears to slither throughout the landscape. As this black image reaches the foreground we realize that the ‘snake’ is a line of people as they are gathered and herded towards the shoreline. These are the Acadians. They are painted in black to symbolize oppression and darkness. You will also notice that the ‘snake’ is traced with orange and yellow flames. These flames represent the spirit of the Acadians. Throughout this war the Acadians were able to survive as best as they could because they never gave up hope for a better future as their spirit flames burned brightly. Although their lives were never able to return to what once was, the spirit of these people has endured and inspired life for others throughout the new Nova Scotia and into the United States reaching as far as New Orleans.

By reading this story you have proved that with the telling of any great tale the “Spirit Never Dies”.


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