Text and Painting: Carl Gawboy

Students will explore the locations and features of American Indian pictographs, and recognize the work of contemporary artist Carl Gawboy.

Materials Needed


Art Materials


Activity Process


The class will look at Carl Gawboy's artwork and his connections to the geology of the Anishinabeg history, lore and artistry of the Lake Superior area. They will record information on a "Data Retrieval Sheet" or art journal.The class will also look at other reference materials, (Magic on the Rocks, Michael Furtman. Indian Rock Paintings of the Great Lakes, and other images) to add to the information.


Students will sketch an image based on the Lake Superior pictographs and/or write a question for Mr. Gawboy. The students will also be introduced to local murals or artworks that represent community history or story about the area.


  1. Write a paragraph (or tell your class and the video camera) about how the cultural symbols of the Anishinabe and those from historic Superior are evident in the paintings of Mr. Gawboy.
  2. Select a season, research constellations viewed in North America, review or create a legend, sketch three images based on this research and your ideas.
  3. List at least 3 cultural or historic events that you see in the murals.
  4. List at least 3 important events to you, your family, your clan or tribe or your community.
  5. Create a Sketch for each of these events.
  6. Look at any photographic references for this event or read any written document concerning the event.
  7. Discuss the key points of your two lists (Mr. Gawboy's painting and your events with your table group.
  8. Read/Listen/Review compositional guidelines for painting.
  9. Revise draft work based on the feedback of others.
  10. Create a pictograph style art work on stone or clay with reference to constellation, season and/or legend OR create an acrylic painting on canvas board with reference to a personal, family, clan, tribe or community event.


Ask students to review the information they collected about mural and natural art and text and how they tell a story about the community. Students will write an artist statement about their art and their knowledge on art and text.


Students will complete a table group analysis sheet. An individual self-assessment (see attached) and receive feedback from their classmates.

Vocabulary Words


If there is a local artist in the community -it would mean more to the students to focus on them, rather than Carl Gawboy.

Grade Levels

Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards


Language Arts



Social Studies