The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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3 Borrowman Place (2)    Location Map
  

This Peace and Justice mural took the students five months to complete. Gordon Bell School is one of the few schools that is recognized by the United Nations for its work in human rights. Each year the school holds its own 'Human Rights Day' a day full of activities and workshops. The event raises both money and awareness for the support and pursuit of justice and security for the peoples of the world.


Location: visible from W side Maryland bet. Portage & Broadway; East Face

Occupant: Gordon Bell High School

District: West End

Neighbourhood: Wolseley

Artist(s): Gordon Bell High School Students (unsigned)

Year: 2001

Sponsors: Mennonite Central Committee

Painters: Jacob Amon, Ashley Anthony, Noni Brynjolson, Lauren DesMarteaux, Samantha Dexter, Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, Abra Dueck, Ashley Funk, Habon Haga, Josh Williams, Crystal Korzenowski, Lauren Heinrichs, Maggie MacDonald, Erin Proctor, Allison Slessor, Kathryn Slessor, Danna Slessor-Cobb, Alex Stearns, Bosey Man van Dyck, Amy Wilkinson, Josh Williams, Johnny Yang.

 

Theresa Kuzyk (Art Teacher, Gordon Bell School): "Our school librarian, Judith Dueck came to me and asked if I wanted to apply for a grant from the Mennonite Central Committee. They were looking for high school students to do a Mural on the theme of Peace and Justice. We applied and were successful in getting the grant, which was very generous of them. One of the criteria was that there had to be many students involved representing the cultural diversity of Gordon Bell School. That's why there's such a large group of names here."

The Mennonite Central Committee were pleased to support this project because it not only facilitated open discussion and promotion of ideals of Peace and Justice amongst young people but also encouraged the artistic expression of same. The project itself certainly was cooperative effort with a very culturally diverse group, with the students organizing themselves into various teams dealing with the different aspects and/or stages of the Mural. Some did the research on the various symbols for Justice and Peace; some were involved in the design and/or the actual painting of the six sections. Where there were multiple submissions as to possible design elements and colour scheme, the final choices were made by democratic vote.

The Mural features a "blind justice" figure perched atop the globe with the hope that justice will prevail. A white dove in flight, representing peace and innocence, is flanked by several other symbols of peace from all over the world: the First Nations 'Circle of Life', the Chinese Yin-Yang (or Tai-Chi) symbol; the Ancient Asian Peace Symbol (the three red dots arranged in a triangular shape, said to mean 'Peace: Past, Present and Future'); the Chinese alphabet character for Peace; an olive wreath (representing the end of war); an olive branch (good will); a rainbow (a symbol of hope for a better world); the handshake between those of different races (cooperation and friendship); the hand peace sign, rainbow ribbon, and the much used logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament as a universally used peace symbol. In a printed statement, the students expressed their wish that "this Mural will serve as a reminder to all who view it that our world need understanding and acceptance of our differences in order to live in peace and harmony."

Theresa: "Different students worked in designing it. It was hard, because it's about peace and justice which are concepts, not concrete things. This is what they came up with. It's a real original. They didn't copy anything it was completely their own design. A lot of the students here are from the Wolseley area and are very socially conscious and will support a just cause. I just love working with them. Every piece of art from them it seems has to have a comment on society or about something to better the world. I think a lot of the parents in this area instill that with their kids. Our Human Rights Day has been a huge success here. Gordon Bell School has an incredible cultural diversity in its population and there is a huge ESL (English as a Second Language) program as well."

"This whole project was done outside of art class all on their own time. It was prepared in the art room-there were six 4 x 8 sheets of plywood painted and then fit together like a puzzle. It took a full year to get it painted and installed-it was a lot of money to install it we had to get a cherry picker-more than the Mural cost and install it into the concrete high. It was worth it though. It's coated with an expensive finishing coat that will protect it and so far it's held up very well through our winters."