Dez Quarréll painted the ten acrylic images of Canadian stories in the 1990’s prior to founding Mythstories museum in 1998. The paintings had a gallery of their own in the first museum situated in Carnarvon Lane in Shrewsbury. The Gallery also featured a mock up camp fire surrounded by logs to sit on while listening to the tales, and yes, there was a simulated oven complete with a skunk inside for the telling of an eleventh tale.
As you can see below all the pictures have their own web pages complete with Key Stage 2 activities and a song. From 1999 these were featured on the Governmental Portal The National Grid for Learning, where Mythstories website was recommended for Key Stage 2 Literacy.
The paintings fall into three categories: First Nation Stories / Settler Tales / Quebecois tales told by Michel Meloche
First Nation Stories
Quebecois tales told by Michel Meloche
This constellation is all about how stories travel across a developing nation; how they can be trans-located from settlers’ old lands to their new homes; how indigenous tales spread as the first nation people moved from place to place in a newly connected land; and how new stories and variations began to evolve. One story, The Loyalist Cow, even helped forge the belief of Canada’s inhabitants that is should remain an independent nation.
Charles Marius Barbeau, a pioneering anthropologist and academic, was one of the first to propound the theory that the migrations of people can be tracked through their oral stories. His initial research into the indigenous peoples of Canada developed into life-long work collecting their stories, songs, customs, and art. In 1985 he was recognized as a “person of national historic importance” by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
And, as if to verify the theory, Michel Meloche was a Quebecois raconteur who would take the folktales of his European neighbours and relocate them to his own village. He would tell these stories to friends and family who gathered in the evenings in his kitchen. Some of his stories were rewritten by his great-great-niece, Natalie Savage Carlson, in her book The Talking Cat first published in 1952.
The Canadian Stories Constellation now forms part of the Grosvenor Park Academy Mini-Storytelling Museum at Chester.