This mural was a part of Astum Api Niikinaahk, an Indigenous-led housing project at Circle of Life Thunderbird House, the goal of the project to end and bring attention to homelessness. Five Indigenous artists were invited to create public art for the new housing site.
The Mural named ‘Taking Flight’ is designed specifically for the Sherbrook Street community and Epic Information Solutions. This design showcases symbols of key subjects and phrases that have been brought to my attention by C.E.O., David Reid at Epic. It also depicts the vision I want to convey as an artist and a resident of the community of West Broadway, to bring empowerment and vitality to the area.
You’ll find the Chinese zodiac hidden across the mural, in traditional Chinese lettering is the mention of home of the ginger beef and the Bow River, and some fun characters are playing around the mural that weren’t depicted in the original, such as a fisherman on the boat.
The mural is 135 feet wide and 55 feet tall. We two of us painted the mural using a boomlift and paint sprayer/spray cans over the course of 40 days during the hottest August in 10 years. We had assistance with the traditional Chinese characters to ensure stylistic accuracy.
This mural was painted by participants from RaY inc. (Resource Assistance for Youth), a nonprofit organization that supports youth in Winnipeg. The project was led by Jessica Canard. It depicts four figures smudging in a field, representing the diversity of Winnipeg’s West Broadway community. To the left is a map of the city, with its two main rivers prominently visible; the Red River and the Assiniboine. This is a reminder of the importance of our rivers, and their role as the original trade routes of Turtle Island.
Artist’s Statement: “The Title of the Mural is “”Land in motion””, it is a look at how our landscape is for ever changed around us with the birth and migration to urban landscapes. We don’t have to go far in our province to see these effects. I also wanted to convey some unhealthy qualities that science and humanity bring when creating their world. Some of the Mural traits demonstrate somewhat of a toxicity that is present in the environment, symbolized by the interlacing of the linear patterns, odd geometric shapes and odd colours that form in the skies. This can describe many modern attributes, such as the chemicals in our environment, the noise, the lights… Yet you can also get a sense of a harmony that is unfolding within these same geometric shapes, as we move forward on the landscape. This is most evident when looking at the back of the building, where I’ve painted an aerial view of a cityscape. The wide range of coloured twinkling lights at dusk almost seem magical. This is perhaps one of the positive sides of the illustration, showing the beauty that we can accomplish we connect. It is important for me as an artist to convey a simple message within my work, of negative and positive attributes, to assure that my paintings have a discussion with my viewers and to also leave the viewer open to his or her own interpretations. I am so happy to have had this chance to contribute to the beautifying of our neighbourhood in this way. We have brought a touch of dignity to the area and have set a new path for the future which I believe coincides well with the changes that are occurring in the community.
This fairy forest mural was commissioned by the BIA and completed in 2019 by ACAD students in partnership with Norfolk Housing Association. Fairy doors compliment this charming mural.