I didn’t publish a post yesterday. I’ve been trying, interspersed with the organizing of our household, to create a reading list of my favourite writers under the heading, I Read This. It was while publishing a page about Hugh Dempsey’s writing this morning, that I thought of Jordan Bearshirt. I would love to meet him again.
After teaching in Medicine Hat for a couple of years, I managed to snapple a job teaching junior high art at Holy Cross Catholic School here in Calgary. It was during my first couple of years that I met Jordan Bearshirt in my grade nine art class. He had a profound sense of line and a meticulous way of rendering his world. He was a quiet boy and while so many other students were performing for attention, he was in a world of his own, using every moment of time in class to draw. After learning that his ancestors were Blackfoot, I asked him if he would do a drawing of the great Chief Crowfoot for me. I would provide him the best of papers and would pay him as a commission for his work. He set about the task at home and brought the first of two drawings back to me, with disappointment. After investing hours of labour, some damage had happened to the piece.
I asked Jordan if he had a desk to work on at home and he explained that “No, I am working on the floor”. As I recall, I had a feeling that I needed to bring this young man under my wing. He was such a meticulous artist and such a gentle spirit.
In the end, this is the beautiful piece that Jordan Bearshirt completed in graphite on arches paper. It has been a family treasure ever since. I hope and pray that this young man is well and that he continued with his art. You are in my heart, Jordan.