Spirit of the Bluebird
Xtine Cook & Jesse Gouchey
Calgary 2011, HD 5:49
Using spray paint on a fence and garage where Aboriginal mother and grandmother Gloria Black Plume was brutally murdered in 1999, Cree artist Jesse Gouchey paints a large scale animation of a bluebird in flight. The beauty and freedom of the bluebird’s motion is contrasted with remembrances of Gloria’s surviving family members, which give an emotional glimpse of a woman lost to violence and the injustice of the legal system.
Spirit of the Bluebird is a fitting tribute to a woman who embodied the bluebird spirit and speaks to deeper themes of the ongoing mistreatment of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples by the criminal justice system and the long term negative effects of the residential school system.
Music by Kainai singer Jonathan Tall Man, Gloria Black Plume’s gifted nephew.
Xtine Cook lives in the house behind which Gloria Black Plume was murdered. For 11 years, she sought contact with Gloria’s family and searched for an Aboriginal artist to create a memorial mural. This film is the result of that search.
Raised in Red Deer, Jesse Gouchey grew up drawing and sketching as a hobby while competing with his siblings for the best quality art. Leaning as much about fine art as he could at school, Jesse took to street art and graffiti to satisfy his need for colour and expression.
After working in and then leaving the oil patch to move to Calgary, Jesse began mixing traditional West Coast native styles with modern media and began selling canvasses. Curating, exhibiting and collaborating in many shows, he has shown in galleries around Central Alberta.
Jesse received animation training at Quickdraw Aniamtion’s Aboriginal Youth Animation Project and has completed two short animated films. Jesse is currently a junior artist on an Aboriginal graphic novel, and enjoys how his art has brought him closer to his Cree heritage.