The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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Displaying Locations 386-390 of 732


455 McDermot Avenue    Location Map

Establishing shot.

Location: NW corner McDermot & Gertie; West and North Face

Occupant: Ka Ni Kanichihk

District: City Centre

Neighbourhood: West Alexander

Artist(s): Lita Fontaine (unsigned)

Year: 2006


Lita Fontaine: "This was for Ka Ni Kanichihk, meaning in Cree 'those who lead'. As far as my understanding goes, it's an Aboriginal organization that promotes education and healing for Aboriginal families, especially pertaining to women and youth. I know a few people who work there. Leslie Spillet is familiar with my work over the years as an exhibition artist, photographer and visual artist. She'd also seen a couple of my indoor Murals."

"The Mural is done in a First Nations Woodlands style. As a teenager I was very involved in my First Nations community, and the Woodlands style was always prevalent here in Winnipeg. My biggest influence was Daphne Odjig. The colours I chose came from the same palette as from my other collage work. I like these colours- I find them very healing. When I look at colour, I look at purple as a very spiritual colour and all the other colours play well with it: the brown representing the earth and green representing the grass."

"The Mural came from my head. Sometimes I have like an inner vision and I don't need to do preliminary sketches. Leslie described this new building to me a bit in terms of what was going to be in it and asked me to do this outside wall, which is about 14 feet high and 65 feet long."

"The left side of the building (photo 2) is where the daycare is, so we wanted something childlike to go here to be suitable for the daycare side; so I kept my lines simple and plain- nothing too intricate and my colours. I've included symbols of the medicine wheel and eagles, with the morning star representation in the middle. The two eagles are representing protection. There's also a circular representation of a mother and child and the drum in the centre. Drums are very symbolic of women. As an Aboriginal woman, I believe that women are very important to our culture: we are the carrier of culture. And you see a lot of circular representation in Aboriginal artwork. There's no beginning or end to a circle."

"On the right side of the wall (photo 3) is a representation of tee-pees- home, family. Circles again: at the top, and on the 4 tee-pees (to represent the entrance) and the large one at the right. You'll notice in my work that I often will use four of something- because four is a sacred number. We have the four seasons and the four races of mankind and their four colours of white black red and yellow- so I made sure I had those colours in my palette. This part of the Mural represents the family unit."

"It's very physically demanding to do a Mural of this scale. I did have an assistant. The section on the right was done freehand with a ruler to get the lines. The left side I used an overhead projector. We projected early in the morning after the sun was up. While I was working, I got all sorts of comments for people in the area on the Mural."

"There are a lot of animals in our culture that are painted on our Murals, and each animal means something specific to the artist that's painting it. I'm attracted to the eagle a lot because in a lot of ways in my culture the eagle is my helper."