BY E. BIGNELL
When a beloved student of Milton District named Ben passed away, a group of his peers gathered together to decide how he could best be remembered. Of all the ideas that were considered, it was decided that a painting would be an excellent way to commemorate him.
I only knew him from a class that we had together, and through the several labs and projects we worked on. He was very quiet, but as I heard from people who knew him better, he was a good friend, and someone who knew what he wanted to do with his life.
The inspiration used for his mural is called “Two Prayers Become One” by Leah Dorion, a Canadian Metis artist. I wanted the painting to be much brighter than the original, because I believe that when a life is lost, that life should be celebrated as well as mourned. There are many symbols within the painting that represent nature and life, as well as Metis culture itself. In order to extend the life of the painting, I did it on a masonite slab, so that in years to come it will remain, even if the wall it’s mounted on should be repainted. It was presented to Ben’s father shortly after it was finished and mounted in its place.
As a classmate, and as someone who knew Ben by extension of my own friends, I have the deepest hopes that my painting will allow those who knew him to recall fond memories of him. Also, to allow those who didn’t have the chance to know him to treasure their lives and those of others, as it hangs in dedication to a life that was lost too soon.