Jeunes Citoyens / Young Citizens

Anna St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Fair address: Avalon Regional Fair

Project: Telling Stories Without Words; The Art and Ingenuity of Christopher Pratt

A book can describe our heritage using words, but is often closed and kept on a shelf. A work of art uses no words to describe our heritage and is usually on display for everyone to see and interpret. My 2017 Heritage Fair project is about the widely known Newfoundland artist Christopher Pratt and how he tells stories, not by pen on paper, but by painting pictures that are worth more than a thousand words.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

Though my project was extremely interesting overall, what stood out the most to me is Christopher Pratt’s creation of the Newfoundland and Labrador flag. Even though my first impression of seeing the flag is nothing more than a pattern of geometric shapes (like many other Newfoundlanders in the 1980’s when the flag was first introduced), now I realize it's filled a lot of broad symbolism. For example, the blue triangles represent the sea and the fishing industry; the red hollow triangles represent the struggles and efforts of getting where our province is today; the white color represents the snow and ice of winter; and the gold arrow is pointing to an even greater future.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

In today's world I feel that most people are always too busy to take the time to learn about their history and culture, or probably not even interested. The task of looking up something or reading has almost become a form of work - rather than an enjoyable experience for your own good. With art you can get a visual representation of things that a book has to convey using words (and more) in a lot less time. Art is always open to different interpretations and allows us to build our own understanding of a past event.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

While completing my heritage fair project I got the chance to examine three of Christopher Pratt's paintings. One of these paintings, entitled “Sheds in Winter”, was about the early fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. This painting exemplifies the hardships and challenges of men who worked in this industry and depicts the risks they had to take to earn a living. In contrast my life is much more simpler and a lot less stressful because my work is limited to school studies and completing facile chores around the house.

  • Nick P

    Clear and very insightful. You are very talented in passing on a simple and clear message. Well done.
    21/06/2017 7:43:38 PM

  • Sean Sullivan

    Very impressive work for an eleven-year old...well done Anna !
    21/06/2017 3:00:18 PM

  • Brooklyn Bixby

    Wow! You got to interview Christopher Pratt that's incredible!
    21/06/2017 1:59:25 PM

  • Carrie

    Very informative video! Well done!
    21/06/2017 11:55:09 AM

  • Toby Field

    Great job. Very interesting topic and I learned something new. Thank you.
    21/06/2017 8:12:09 AM

  • Jewlia Green

    Good job on your video! It's very informative
    19/06/2017 8:04:15 PM

  • Peter Haddad

    Well done Anna. I've always wanted to visit NFLD, hopefully I can make it this year.
    16/06/2017 8:50:15 AM

  • Brent

    Bravo...Great history lesson about Newfoundland and Labrador.
    15/06/2017 3:58:04 PM

  • frances

    Anna, you did an amazing job and I think you deserve to win :)
    15/06/2017 1:48:10 PM

  • Barb

    Very interesting and informative topic and so very well done.
    14/06/2017 1:26:13 PM

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Project partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.
  • Canadian Heritage / Patrimoine Canadien
  • Government of Canada
  • HBC: Hudson's Bay Company
  • ecentricarts inc.