The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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'Aqua Lungs'.


Location: SW corner Main & Sutherland; South Face

Occupant: Vineyard Church

District: North End

Neighbourhood: Lord Selkirk Park

Artist(s): PA System (Patrick Thompson & Alexa Hatanaka), Parr Josephee (all unsigned)

Year: 2016

Sponsors: Sherwin-Williams, Synonym Art Consultation, Graffiti Art Programming, North End Community Renewal Corporation

 

Alexa Hatanaka: "In thinking about the content for this wall we wanted to do something that was meaningful to all three of us. We know Parr from going up to Nunavut and doing workshops in his community, Cape Dorset. His community is very well known for art, actually. They have the oldest running original print making shop; and also many carvers- it's a prolific community!"

Parr Josephee: "The narwhal is a big part of our life up north. It is also our traditional food. All of my ancestors ate it and we still eat it. We are afraid that the narwhal are going to die or be driven away because the noise is too loud and too strong. 90% of the narwhal population are there are are going to be affected by where they are looking for oil. It's our food and that's how we live. How would they like it if we went there and took all of THEIR food?"

Alexa: "The community of Clyde River is fighting seismic blasting in their waters. The purpose of the seismic testing is to try to find oil. The three of us were thinking about this as a group- how to make a piece in solidarity with this group; and of course very meaningful to Parr. 90% of the world's narwhal are in that area, among other marine life. Those animals would be very much threatened by the seismic testing; and therefore the Inuit way of life would also be threatened. That's something that resonates with Parr and is close to our hearts too because of all the time we have spent in the North and how close we are to our friends there."

"The piece is representing slices (cross sections) of land. A narwhal and a human are also presented and visually treated the same to show their interconnectivity, You cannot separate humans and the land from the animals. They are seen as one and living as one. Healthier, together. Visually they all display the exact same gradient of colour layers. They are all interdependent and connected.""

"And it's all held within this lung shapes and the heart is in the middle. The shape of the heart here is kind of representative of what it looks like with an explosion underwater; but that's a bit more abstract- that's where the heart should be! Patrick painted a little explosion (see the top front side layer of the land) representing seismic cannon blasting. Below that section is a textbook image depiction of seismic mapping."

"The human figure is Parr's drawing. It's actually a self portrait of him catching a sturgeon fish. Earlier this summer he went with us to Northern Ontario and caught his first fish there! It was a cool experience for him because in this community their issue right now is the amount of damming of the river for hydro electricity. This fish have a lot of mercury in them from the flooding of the river and we are losing the fish. Interesting for him to go tom another community and see how other indigenous communities have to fight to protect what happens on their land and therefore their ability to persist their way of life and pass on knowledge and their culture between generations."

"So this piece is about the North but also points to the fact that there is a global issue."