Fine Art Fables: How The Rainbow Was Made

How The Rainbow Was Made is a creation story from the Ojibwe Nation, a group of Indigenous peoples that occupy the northern midwest and northern plains of the United States, and the southern portions of Canada. 

While I cannot find the most reliable source material for the myth (it’s mostly online forums or blog postings where I’ve found it discussed) the gist of the story remains the same. The story starts off with Nanabozho, a shapeshifting spirit that is prominent in Ojibwe storytelling, looking out the window of his house by a waterfall and being bored by the fact all of the flowers were white. He gathered up paints, went into the meadow, and began painting all of the flowers. However, two bluebirds were playing, zipping through the skies around Nanabozho. The birds brushed through Nanabozho’s paint pots repeatedly. The paint on their wings dripped into the sky, and through the mist of the waterfall turned into the first rainbow. Nanahozho was pleasantly surprised, and ensured that the rainbow would float permanently above the waterfall. 

The image I made for this week includes the core elements of the story with the two blue birds flying by a waterfall and a rainbow. I thought it might be a little too hard to depict the waterfall itself, so I added a splatter of blue/white to mimic mist. I do not wish to represent the Ojibwe peoples in an incorrect or insensitive way through this artwork/blog post, so if anything is inaccurate please let me know in the comments!

Sierra Iverson

My name is Sierra Snow Iverson, and I'm a junior pursing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design. I have a focus in animation and film due to my intense interest in storytelling. However, I have a background in Illustration and 2D Design. The content of my postings will center around fables and myths from around the world through a combination of illustrations and written material.

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