Lekwungen Youth "Unity" Mural
Over the month of September 2020, Open Space collaborated with artists Brianna Bear, Nicole Neidhardt, and the University of Victoria’s School of Child and Youth Care’s Kinship Rising project to create a mural with design contributions from Lekwungen youth about the importance of these lands and waters to their sense of identity & well-being.
Kinship Rising offers a platform to honour creative, community-generated interventions rooted in dignity, kinship, and land and body wellbeing. Its approach is informed by the experiences of Indigenous sisters, mothers, aunties, cousins, community members, kin and children. Its purpose is to re-centre teachings about gender and sexuality specific to communities.
The inspiration for the mural is the underwater world and shoreline - where water and land come together. Two questions were put forward to the youth: What makes you feel like you are under water or swimming against the current? (or what makes things hard or difficult?), and what makes you feel like you are floating or swimming with the current? (what makes things easier? What makes you happier? What makes you feel supported?)
As a result of the limitations regarding in-person meetings and prioritizing the safety of community members during Covid-19, we decided that a face-to-face mural design workshop with local youth was not possible. Care packages were dropped off to youth in the Lekwungen communities of Esquimalt and Songhees with items for self-care and creative expression, and a process for contributing to the mural design. These artistic contributions from the youth were transformed into the design composition created by Brianna Bear and Nicole Neidhardt.
Lekwungen youth participants include Shauntelle Dick Charleson, Julia George, Leigh-Annah Sam, Wilfrado Harris and Carmanah Dick.
Painting support from Morgan Mowatt, Gina Mowatt, Hayden Neidhardt, and Annabelle Hill.
The mural will be on display in Open Space through the duration of LAND BACK, until January 16, 2021.