Spring Fling in Canso

By Lois Ann Dort    

CANSO – Nova Scotia has been hit this week by what could be called the worst part of our winter yet this year, the worst because it is officially spring. In light of the season pronounced on the calendar, if not by mother nature, the Canso Library and Resource Centre held a Spring Fling event on April 3, a few short hours before old man winter came knocking on the door again. Fortunately Sunday afternoon started out sunny and cool in Canso and many community members turned out for the event which featured an art sale, performances by The We’koqma’qewiska drummers from Waycobah First Nation, and a reading by renown artist Alan Syliboy from his new book The Thundermaker.

The afternoon started off with an honour song performed by the women’s drum group We’koqma’qewiska. The drummers, who are all either survivors of residential school or family members of survivors, provided translations of the traditional songs they sang and ended their performance with a round dance inviting all in the audience to join hands in dance and song. The Canso audience was pleased to participate and the resulting circle of dancers took up most of the main room in the library.

Following the drummers was artist Alan Syliboy whose work can be seen in the Stanfield International Airport in Halifax, the People’s Place Library in Antigonish and in many galleries across Canada. Syliboy gave a presentation about his most recent work, a collaboration with several other artist called The Path We Share which will be exhibited at the Nova Scotia Art Gallery in Halifax this spring.

Next the audience was treated to an animation short film of Syliboy’s work The Thundermaker. The story of the Thundermaker is part of the Mi’kmaw origin story of Kluskap; a great teacher of the Mi’kmaw people.

Thundermaker has recently been published as a children’s story book; written and illustrated by Syliboy. Syliboy read excerpts from the book to a captivated audience. The reading was followed by a light lunch provided by area volunteers.

The afternoon was a great way to shake off the winter, learn more about the native culture of Nova Scotia, support local artist, and meet with friends and neighbours.