Moccasin Slippers and Dakota Skippers (2019)
Annie Beach is a visual artist, born and based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty One Territory. Beach is Cree/ Saulteaux/ Ukrainian, with relations from Peguis First Nation and Brokenhead First Nation.
She is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (Honours) from the University of Manitoba’s School of Art, where she has sat on the School of Fine Art Student Association as Co-President for a number of years. Beach has curated, designed, and executed over a dozen mural projects throughout the city and works as art instructor with a variety of youth, community arts and cultural-based organizations. Beach is also one of three recipients of the 2019 Hnatyshyn Foundation Emerging Artist prize.”
Thunderbird House Gardens
52 Austin St.
ABOUT / ARTIST STATEMENT
This mural, as a part of the Wall-to-Wall Mentorship, included a youth art workshop with a focus of our connection to the land, water, plants, and animals around us. I used this theme and workshop to develop the mural concept and imagery. I chose to depict Lady Slipper flowers, which are also referred to as Moccasin Flowers. These flowers are perennial and are found in Manitoba, as well as elsewhere across the country. There is an Ojibwe story of the origins of the Moccasin Flower, which is as follows.
Ojibway legend tells of the great courage of a girl who saves her people from illness. The girl knows she must journey to the next village to get the healing herb, mashkiki (medicine) for her people, who have all fallen ill. After lining her moccasins with rabbit fur, she braves a raging snowstorm and crosses a dark frozen lake to reach the village. Then, rather than wait for morning, she sets out for home while the villagers sleep, determined to help her people. During her trek, she loses her moccasins and her bare feet are cut by icy shards, and bleed with every step until she reaches her home. The next spring, beautiful Lady Slippers (Moccasin Flowers) bloom from the place where her moccasins were lost, and from every spot her injured feet touched.
This story is an example of a determined individual who sacrifices their own comfort to bring healing to their people. The Pink Lady Slipper is a rare flower, and the White Lady Slipper is considered endangered in Manitoba, due to the amount of time that the flower requires to reach maturity. The image also includes the Dakota Skipper butterfly, which is also a species that is at risk of becoming endangered in Manitoba. Depicting these scarce flowers and butterflies celebrates our connection to the land, plants, and animals that surround us, while also recognizing the importance of protecting vulnerable individuals, by means of support but not interference.
Partners: Synonym Art Consultation, Graffiti Art Programming
Sponsors: Benjamin Moore, United Rentals, Take Pride Winnipeg, Dulux