Artist Veronica Funk shares her year-long labour of love with painted totem animals and their meanings as spirit guides and the stories behind them.
Growing up in northern Manitoba my entire world was influenced by the Cree culture in which I was immersed. As a young girl, on one of many trips up the Churchill River, I saw my first pictographs drawn on stone outcroppings high above the waterline, and yet so far down from the land that sat on top of it that I wondered how anyone could reach that space to draw in our time, never mind thousands of years ago. This place north of 56 where I learned to survive in the wilderness as part of my public education; where we came together to celebrate the Winter Carnival, racing in snowshoes, baking bannock, watching the dog sled races; where we were raised to nurture nature. I never wanted to leave. And now, I have finally found a way to fill the hole left in my heart when I left the north. This work, each piece both a representation of and also physically a sacred vessel for me, is filled with the images, colours and symbols of my memory.