501 Ellice Avenue
Location: NW corner Ellice & Spence; East Face
Occupant: Y-Not Foods
District: West End
Artist(s): Annie Beach, Brianna Wentz
Sponsors: West End BIZ, Herc Rentals, Goodies Bake Shop, Canada Employment and Social Development, Canadian Heritage, Canada 150, Take Pride Winnipeg!
Photos 1-4: Finished Mural; Photos 5-11: In-Progress Shots; Photos 12-13: Unveiling
Annie Beach: "The experience of creating this Mural has been significant
for both of us. We were welcomed with words of encouragement from passersby
each day and it made us feel truly bonded with the community. We were aware
of the effect public art can have in vulnerable neighborhoods, but it was not until
we started painting that we began to understand how integral programs such as
the Mural Mentorship program are for the community. We would like to thank
the community for making us feel so welcome here, and thank-you/merci to the
Government of Canada, ESDC, as well as sponsors Y-Not Foods, Take Pride
Winnipeg, and Hertz. And to the West End BIZ for their wonderful Mural program
that gave us this opportunity."
Brianna Wentz: O Kanata is about celebrating the role of
Indigenous Peoples, and honouring the beauty of Canada's natural landscapes.
Smudging is a practice used to cleanse negative energy; we incorporated it into
our design so that the smoke from this smudge can cleanse the land of the harms
in the past. The child holding the smudging shell (Photo 2) is not of any specific race,
culture, class, or gender, and therefore, represents anyone in our country's
diverse population. The child also represents the future of Canada, as the country
as a dominion is still in its infancy. This child is shown blending with the river and
is rendered in the colours of the sky, as we hope for a future where we are all
more connected to the land. Various landscapes from across the country have
been represented: the prairies through the plains in the middle ground, the
Boreal Forest and Rockies through the wooded area, rivers and the coasts
through the waterfall and river in the foreground, as well as the Arctic through
the Northern Lights. A beaver is shown crawling into the river (Photo 4), as it cleanses itself
of its own negative history. The silhouette of an eagle flies from the east, a
symbol of courage and new beginnings. Also included is an Inuksuk, pointing in
the direction of the sunrise, further emphasizing a bright new future, as well as
marking the scene as a place of shelter. At the top of the Mural shining in the
northern lights, is the iconic Canadian maple leaf."
"The Iroquois village from which Canada received its name is alluded to in the
smoke, as well as shape of Manitoba, as the name was derived from the Cree and
Assiniboine words meaning 'of the Great Spirit.' When you look closely you will
find small fish in the river; these were made with stamps designed by the
participants, so they all made their own mark on the Mural. The overall aesthetic
and colour palette references the Canadian and indigenous artists George
Littlechild, Alex Janvier, Ted Harrison, and Shalak Attack.
Annie: "The concept in this Mural is meant to not only to celebrate Canada in its
150th year but also to share and recognize that the power to heal and grow is
possible through the respect, celebration and protection of the natural
environment. To quote Louis Riel, 'We must cherish our inheritance. We must
preserve our nationality for the youth of our future.' To the youth of the
community, this is for you. We must cherish the land that has been passed down
to us if we are to continue to benefit from all that it gives us, and we must cherish
the many peoples who have always inhabited this land if we are to truly reconcile.
The preservation of indigenous ceremonies, culture, and the land in which they
have grown- depends on you: the youth of our future.
Brianna: "Thank you again for this opportunity to share our art and time with the
people of this community and we hope that everyone who visits this Mural will
enjoy it. "
Robert-Falcon Ouellette (MP, Winnipeg Centre), at unveiling: "I am very proud
for the young ladies Brianna and Annie who have worked so hard throughout the
summer on building this Mural. I think about the Seven Teachings, and how you
had the COURAGE to come to the West End and participate with people- not at
the university but to come out of the University into real life and work with
people and teach them art; and for it to turn out not exactly what you wanted it
to be but makes it better in many ways as you're building community. I love it
that you had knowledge and you gave that knowledge to the community here.
And how you gave your love, in the West End as well as across Winnipeg!"