Manitoba

Indigenous Winnipeg high school students create adult colouring book

A new indigenous adult colouring book created by students at a Winnipeg school went on sale this weekend.

Children of the Earth High School students release Colour Me Serene/Ni-sisopekewin Kamwatan book

Students from Children of the Earth High School published adult colouring book (CBC)

A new indigenous adult colouring book created by students at a Winnipeg school went on sale this weekend.

Last year, students at Children of the Earth High School formed an artist co-operative in collaboration with the Winnipeg School Division and SEED Winnipeg, an inner-city renewal non-profit that helps small business get started.

Jackie Connell, the principal at the school, said students have been taking after-school classes the past two years where they've learned about art and how to establish their own co-op.

The colouring book highlights the traditional indigenous artwork created by students at the school, Connell said.

"I know that adult colouring books are becoming more and more popular, so it was pretty special for us to be able to create, together with our art teacher Cynthia Flett, the indigenous adult colouring book," Connell said.

Flett, who is also the artistic director behind the project, said the original idea for the colouring book came from a conversation with the school's community support worker.
Colour Me Serene/Ni-sisopekewin Kamwatan is full of traditional indigenous artwork. (CBC)

Flett's technology and design whiz of a husband taught her how to use Adobe Suite digital design tools, which helped her take artwork from the students and transform them into templates for the colouring book.

"I wasn't sure how it was going to work at first. I thought I would have to have the kids draw the lines, but I thought we have this great collection of original artwork that they had produced," Flett said. "So when I first saw what Adobe Illustrator could do by turning the images into these gorgeous line drawings from the work they had already created, that was where the direction went."

Flett eventually gave her students a glimpse of the colouring book draft.

"They were amazed when I first showed them," she said.

Connell said she, too, is impressed with the end product. She thinks the students have grown throughout the creation of the co-op and adult colouring book project.

"I think the overall impact of the co-op has been tremendous," she said. "I believe that our students at Children of the Earth High School have an enormous amount of potential, an enormous amount of gifts and I think this is an opportunity for them to be able to show those in a very concrete way."

The students sold the colouring book at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory Sunday between 1 p.m and 3 p.m. Proceeds from sales will go toward purchasing additional art supplies for the co-op, as well as to the student artists.

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