The Power of “Resilience” on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Quadra commissioned this powerful painting, aptly called Resilience, from Indigenous Artist Eugene Albert. Eugene is of Northern Tutchone and Tlingit ancestry and belongs to the crow clan from the Selkirk First Nation of Pelly Crossing, Yukon. He builds striking imagery from the material culture of his ancestry.

Quadra spoke with Eugene about the inspiration for this painting, which includes three colours; orange, representing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, black, representing the dark side of events having affected Indigenous communities, and turquoise, a spiritual colour representing sky, water, and plants.

Eugene explained that the wolf on the right side of the painting, the lines in between, and the raven or crow on the left side characterize separate clans being brought together through marriage and community. The two hands symbolize families and Indigenous communities affected by atrocities and injustices in Canada and beyond, and the stars represent the past, present, and future.

At the heart of the painting are a drum and an eagle, and at the bottom are eagle feathers, all representing the pulse and spiritual guidance required for change and the strength required to carry on following extreme hardship.

Stories of the Past Bring Change to the Future

Eugene shared his own personal story with us, including both his parents having attended residential schools. He discussed the lifelong impact of his mother driving him to the school she attended and making sure he understood why what happened there should never happen again.

We also spoke of awareness and education being at the root of change, and about how acknowledging wrongdoings is the first step toward driving reconciliation forward.

On the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we honoured Eugene Albert, his family, his ancestors, and his community, as well as all the other Indigenous families and communities impacted by wrongful acts.