A traditional teaching amongst the First Nations of Turtle Island is that before Europeans crossed the ocean, their elders had visions of people coming from the east with messages from the Creator. This tradition inspired Bert Adema, Director of Indigenous Christian Fellowship (ICF) to commission Ovide Bighetty to create four unique series of paintings. Ovide Bighetty is a Cree (Missinippi-Ethiniwak) self-taught artist originally from Pukatawagan First Nation on the Missinippi River in north western Manitoba. A significant challenge was to depict the teachings in a way consistent with both Aboriginal symbolism and the Biblical sources. For each commission, Ovide consulted with elders from Pukatawagan and in the urban communities of Regina and Winnipeg where he painted the commissions.
In 2002, Ovide created a series of images depicting the Easter story, known as ‘Kisemanito Pakitinasuwin – The Creator’s Sacrifice’; this series of 17 images was painted in acrylic on canvas and framed in cedar.
In 2006, Ovide created 12 pieces illustrating the teachings known as ‘Steps Along The Red Road Following Christ The Creator’. For each image, Ovide selected an eagle feather to emphasize the sacred Aboriginal spirituality of the teachings. The images, the feathers, and the teachings are integrated in shadow boxes constructed of birch, Plexiglas, and Baltic birch plywood.
The Christmas story was illustrated by Ovide in 2007; he painted 17 images on Baltic birch plywood which were framed in maple. Elders and community members named this series of images ‘Kisê-manitow Omiyikowisiwin – The Creator’s Gift’.
In 2009, Ovide created paintings illustrating Christian Aboriginal prayers. He painted 11 images on canvas; the series was named ‘Prayers For The Creator’s Children’. The images, accompanying eagle feathers, and text were integrated in shadow boxes similar to the second commission.
The art work and related exhibition and reproduction rights belong to Indigenous Christian Fellowship (ICF). Revenue from the sale of reproductions contributes to the cost of the art work and fund raising for the ministry.
The efforts of various people made possible the creation, exhibit and reproductions of the art work painted by Ovide Bighetty and commissioned by Indigenous Christian Fellowship (ICF). The ministry gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of the following people: Bob Anderson (Concept Media Ltd.); Don List (Birdsong Communications); Mary K. Weimar (Assiniboia Gallery); Neil Douglas, Bob Boyer, the Christian Reformed Church in North America - Canada and the many persons whose appreciation for ‘Kisê-manitow Opakitinâsowin – The Creator’s Sacrifice’ paintings encouraged the following commissions.