Hamilton was blessed this year with the amazing mural artwork of Kyle Joedicke, a 29-year-old Haudenosaunee artist who grew up in Caledonia and whose family is Cayuga of the Six Nations of the Grand River with the Turtle Clan.
His work is predominantly Indigenous art with an emphasis on Woodland Style Art, first created by Norval Morrisseau who founded the Woodlands School of Canadian Art and was a member of the Indian Group of Seven.
I don’t know where Joedicke will ultimately fall in the history of Canadian art. I’m not an art expert.
I know very little about art.
However, when I’m stand before Joedicke’s The Seven Grandfather Teachings at 576 Concession Street in Hamilton, I know I stand before something extraordinary, something captivating, something that goes beyond any feeble attempt to describe with words.
The way to experience this majestic piece of art is to take the time to stand before it, to walk along side it, to enter into it as you embrace the connection Joedicke has graciously extended to enter the Indigenous community and its stories.
I did not know about The Seven Grandfather Teachings prior to learning of Joedicke’s mural. Before my first site visit, I took the time to learn about them. It helped me connect with Joedicke’s story as I walked alongside his seven main figures.
According to the oral stories told to Joedicke, the Buffalo, represents respect; the Eagle signifying love; the Bear demonstrating courage; the Sabe (or Sasquatch) representing honesty and oneness to nature; the Beaver symbolizing wisdom; the wolf presenting us humility; and the Turtle connecting us to truth. Each symbol painted by Joedicke helped him find his own identity, according to an interview he gave on Hamilton Community News.
He created an opportunity for all of us in the Hamilton community to connect with the Indigenous people and the stories they have carried with them for generations. His art brings these oral stories to life for us in a way that makes our lives richer.
For that, Kyle Joedicke, I’m grateful.
You can view more stunning pictures of The Seven Grandfather Teachings here.