1819 Portage Avenue
Location: NW corner Portage & Marjorie, East Face
Occupant: Underworld Scuba
District: St. James
Neighbourhood: King Edward
Artist(s): Julia Beveridge, Jennifer Johnson Mosienko (lead artist)
Sponsors: St. James Village BIZ, Take Pride Winnipeg!, Herc Rentals
Painters: Assisted by mentees Maliki Bodnar and Morgan Biggs.
Jennifer Mosienko: "First and foremost is the 17 foot high giant orange octopus clutching
a water bottle at Underworld Scuba, 1819 Portage Avenue. The tentacles also wrap
around a life preserver with the statement 'Think Blue Go Green' encompassing the earth.
An octopus was chosen for its full ability to adapt to its environment rather then to
change it. The intention was to create a bright striking Mural in the heart of St. James
with a strong environmental message. Becoming more aware of choosing to limit single
use plastics and their impact on our water, oceans and environment was the primary
message. The Mural also features a oceanic scene with Mother Nature or Gia, and a ship
wreck. Mother Nature's hands are empty as she has no more to give after dealing with
our human debris. In the center are 2 divers cleaning the ocean floor one piece of plastic
or debris at a time- in turn illustrating that more individuals need to make steps forward
and take action to preserve and protect our environment."
Remarks at unveiling:
Jennifer Mosienko: "First off I want to thank Tessa, the owner at Underworld for
NOT thinking I was a crazy person when I walked in the store 6 months ago and said 'I
want to paint a giant octopus on your wall because my 4 year old daughter really likes
"Not only with the cooperation and support of the business, but also with the support of
St. James BIZ, Take Pride Winnipeg and Herc Rentals would any of that be truly
possible. For that I am truly grateful.".
"This is officially my 20th year painting Murals in Winnipeg- which I still can't believe.
I've known Tom from Take Pride Winnipeg for that long! You are truly appreciated,
Tom. I couldn't have asked for a better family area to work in than St. James to paint
such a Mural. The Community support, friendly people and kindness of strangers was
ever so present."
"I also had the privilege of being a part of the Take Pride Winnipeg Mural Mentor
Program. I had a fantastic time with Julia Beveridge, my Mentee. We shared some long
hot dogs and quite a few slurpees. She had the uncanny ability to paint large scale, which
for most takes years to learn. So Julia, your camaraderie, artistic abilities and your
calming demeanour have helped make this project what it is. I'd also like to say thanks
to Maliki Bondar and Morgan Biggs for their assistance as well."
"The Mural itself I wanted to depict something bright, colourful for the community being
an ocean scene that suited the business but also had an environmental message for
limiting the use of single use plastics. Julia and I both used insulated canteens for the
duration of the project. Even when making my daughter's lunch I often tried to opt for
reusable containers rather than plastic bags. I definitely was not successful with that
every day. I guess in essence it made me aware as rather being conscious of the small
decisions and extra few seconds it takes to make more environmentally sound choices."
"Just a quick description of the Mural. An octopus was an amazing fit not only because
my daughter likes that and that it is Underworld's Logo. but also for their uncanny ability
to adapt to its surroundings- moulding their bodies, colours & textures to fit within the
environment. He or she is obviously not impressed by the water bottle. We have the life
preserver encompassing the earth with the message 'Think Blue Go Green'. On the far
end is a depiction of Mother Nature. Her hands are empty because there is only so much
that nature can rectify on its own without action from us to clean up our own mess.
Hence the divers removing debris in the center one piece at a time."
"I truly enjoyed this project through and through. Poor Julia! I kept saying 'do you
know how amazing it is for a perfect stranger to take time out of their day to say thank
you for your work?!? There are not many jobs out there that this is the case; nor does it
happen every day."
"So thank you all for attending; the sponsors Take Pride Winnipeg, St. James BIZ, Herc
Rentals, Underworld Scuba and all the amazing staff. Bob Buchanan, The Murals of
Winnipeg coordinator for putting Winnipeg on the map; J.W. Construction for
installation of the boards, And a special thank you to my friend and muse, Jeanette who
spent countless nights helping me clean up, push scaffolding, and offered amazing