Located in RI 108* (Aboriginal Student Centre, Research and Innovation Centre 1st floor)
Elk Whistle, 2006
Oil pigment on buffalo hide
72″ x 72″
University of Regina President’s Art Collection; pc.2012.10
This showing is about Aboriginal spiritual teachings and the refreshing of old stories and spiritual practises that may have been forgotten or are no longer used in this generation. I believe that these teachings should not go way of the dodo but continue to have reverence and a use in contemporary societies. The handing down of spiritual and cultural information is a common practise within Aboriginal culture, and art is a great vehicle for any information. I believe that cultural teachings are pertinent to society as a whole, as it is a basis for personal identity. The sharing of cultural knowledge creates a better understanding between the diverse cultures.
The spiritual origins of Elk Whistle is from the Elk Spirit which gave Aboriginal people the whistle that is used in the Sundance and Raindance. Today, Elk Whistle is called Eagle Whistle because it is made from an eagle’s wing bone. The original whistle was made of wood. The bottom of the painting depicts sunrise and sunset; the length of time which people dance at these spiritual events. At the top is moonrise and moonset. The yellow, white, red and blue dots represent the seasonal elements. The misshaped circle around the spirit beings, both male and female, is the circle of life within the circle of the universe. The inner circle contains the life-long prayers and excursions away from the spiritual path, and bubbles of important spiritual events within the life circle. The lines on each corner contain the number seven which is the seven movements of the pipe ceremony. One corner contains only six lines, representing unfinished ceremony.
Buffalo Stands Firm, Keith Bird
Keith Bird was born in Lestock, SK and is of Cree and Saulteaux descent. He completed a BFA from the University of Regina in 2008 and an MFA in 2013.