Collection Highlight

Prayers for Our Lost Children by Loretta Gould

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A figure wearing red holds a feather with two foot prints up to the sky. On their sleeve three stylized figures contain the numbers, 2, 1, 5. Below, blue flowers grown from red soil. Footprints in between the roots continue up the figure's long dark hair. Behind the figure a blue circle is surrounded by bands of yellow and purple hues.

Loretta Gould

Prayers for Our Lost Children, 2021
acrylic on canvas

This work was commissioned in 2021 as the shameful story of Canada’s Residential School System continued to unfold. The painting serves as a poignant reminder of what Canada has stolen from Indigenous peoples and the ways in which this harm endures. At the same time, it underlines the vital continuity of Mi’kmaq art, culture, and spiritual practices, and the important role that women and children have played in maintaining this permanence.

The painting, which is currently installed outside the office of the Indigenous Affairs Coordinator, is part of a series of public artworks commissioned by the Indigenous Affairs Coordinator and the Owens.

Loretta Gould is a Mi’kmaq quilter and painter who loves bright, beautiful colours. A self-taught artist, she grew up in Waycobah First Nation where she later raised five children with her husband Elliot Gould. She began making a living through her art quilts but, when her sewing machine broke in 2013, she decided to try her hand at painting. She’s been painting ever since. Loretta’s dream is to share her art with the world. For her, art is a way to get her spiritual feelings on canvas.