This post is about community involvement and the murals that result. They aren’t great art and they weren’t meant to be. They are about the stories we tell about ourselves and our communities. They brighten our public spaces and enrich our neighbourhoods.
The first is a series of murals painted by Gledhill Public School students. There are murals by the graduating classes of 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 in a lane near the school.
Just to the east, Woodbine subway station is undergoing much needed renovations and expansion. Some of the hoardings around the construction site have been covered with three murals. They were painted by: Haley G., Sasha K.S., Francis H., Melika W., Tristan C., Savannah P., Adrina P. and Anna-Lisa A as well as Jim Bravo and Andrenne Finnikin as part of the ‘City on the Move, Young Artists in Transit’ mural project.
The first mural is a juxtaposition of past and present, people playing beside the creek. The creek, trees, and birds are all the same. There is now a city in the distance and clothing we wear has changed, but we still enjoy the outdoors like our ancestors did.
Above ground, a fair, an amusement on a summer day. Below ground, the subway is being built.
And last, woodpeckers in the trees as well as a poem by George Elliott Clarke who was the Poet Laureate of Toronto 2012-15. It describes the murals and is transcribed below.
The poem on the last mural:
Seeing Beauty, at Woodbine
Citizens, let’s pasture ourselves in parks
And gardens, so skyscrapers mingle with trees,
And we recover Native faith, Settler
Hope, to savour birds’ trills and swoops, fording
Creek and times past, to touch us, where we stand.
Once was pleasure in a street fair – ice cream
And lollipop, but also in strolling
Or rolling down to work, shirt-sleeves rolled up,
Dawn light unfolding, That’s what’s visible.
(Underground, a steel vein branches, roots, and throbs.)
Torrential leaves stacked up towers, now fallen,
Last Fall, Birds tap into the standing logs
Winter planted. Spring rain well refreshes
The city. Now, young artists tap dreams –
Drafting Beauty – to which all say, “Bravo!”
by George Elliott Clarke