The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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1849 Portage Avenue    Location Map

Location: NW corner Portage & Roseberry; East Face

Occupant: Good Earth Chop Suey House

District: St. James

Neighbourhood: King Edward

Artist(s): Mandy van Leeuwen, Lisa Young-Kutsukake

Year: 1998

Sponsors: Take Pride Winnipeg!, St. James Village BIZ


This Mural was the second and last that Mandy van Leeuwen would paint with her friend Lisa Young-Kutsukake before Lisa moved to Toronto.

Mandy van Leeuwen: "The restaurant owner was the client. He had us over to his house to show us a dressing screen painted in gold leaf and actually there were eight people in it. Asian dressing screens are beautiful! He wanted this screen reproduced onto this wall. Of course we could have never come up with this design on our own nor mastered this style of Asian art- it takes them FIVE YEARS before they're even allowed to pick up a paintbrush. But I'm really excited that I had the chance to work with this."

"We took a photograph of the screen. Of course we had to stretch it out and also make it shorter and take out some of the people and work with the main elements of the piece. There are 3 elements of height for instance, the foreground the middle ground and the background. And note that some of the people are higher than others. In this style the higher people are considered higher in social standing. The scaly green patterns in the lower left hand corner and extending across the bottom is our perception of a dragon and we changed it into foliage."

"This one took 6 weeks. We probably made 4 dollars an hour painting this one. Stucco is very time consuming considering that we were doing this kind of piece on here. You'll notice that absolutely everything, all the forms have a fine black line around it, which is required and you just can't get the fine black line unless you spend the time doing it properly. It was all done freehand. I was extremely busy at this point in time, with the many murals I was helping coordinate (at the time Mandy served as Mural Coordinator for Take Pride Winnipeg) and helping all those artists. Lisa was spending more time here than I was. We had a lot of fun playing with colour layers and texture. With this one, though we didn't need to go too far in textures, we could still have a lot of one-colour textures and it would still work with this style of art and that's how the screen was as well. Realism is just not in here. That's the style."

"The top layer features the islands of the ocean. You're looking outwards through the fence out onto the ocean and there are lotuses on the water. The yellow represents gold."

"There's not another mural like it in the city. It's on it's own. It's not a style I could master. It was very spiritual for us when we were here, and we had a really strong spiritual connection, Lisa and I as well. It was fulfilling and enlightening."