Giant dreamcatcher in P.E.I. captures dreams of young Canadians
'It's very big, it's very powerful, there's a lot of energy in this thing'
A giant dreamcatcher on display at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown celebrates the dreams of young Canadians from the 13 provinces and territories. It's also a dream fulfilled for one of the artists who created it.
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In February and March, Indigenous artists Nick Huard and Watio Splicer travelled across Canada, teaching young people about the legend of the dreamcatcher and helping them create small dreamcatchers that would be woven together into one giant display.
"The dreamcatcher's first job is to catch all dreams, it filters them," explained Huard.
He is a Mi'kmaq Artist, born in Restigouche, on the N.B.-Quebec border. He lived on reserve in the Gaspésie before being sent to residential school.
He has been making dreamcatchers for years.
"The good dreams come to the dreamer from the feather, and the bad dreams stay in the web until the first rays of sunrise and they get destroyed," said Huard.
"The reason why the dreamcatcher works is that it reminds you to pursue the dream the creator put in your heart."
The youth were taught how to make their own dreamcatcher and some even brought personal items to add to their creations.
"It's big for them to understand but when they start weaving the dreamcatcher, it's that eureka moment, when they figure out how it's made that is priceless," said Huard.
The giant dreamcatcher is part of a larger initiative by the Confederation Centre of the Arts called The Dream Catchers, supported by funding from Canada 150.
As part of the workshops, the youth were also asked to share their visions for their future and the future of Canada.
"The whole thing was so emotional, every child has his dream and it's very special for him, they were all beautiful," said Huard.
The giant dreamcatcher also fulfills one of his own dreams, something he was unable to do during his years in residential school.
"When I was a kid, this was a total impossibility," he said.
"We were even beaten to think of something like that and now I can give it to them."
"That is reconciliation," said Huard.
"To honour our spirituality and give us a chance to share our spirituality."
Splicer is Huard's assistant and also his nephew and has travelled with him to all the provinces and territories.
"It was a journey and a half and I got to meet hundreds of people," said Splicer.
"Sometimes it was emotional."
The dreamcatcher they have created together also has significance for Splicer.
"It's believing, having an open mind and believing that anything that you want, you can have it," he said.
"It's very big, it's very powerful, there's a lot of energy in this thing."
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