November 1, 2019
New murals were unveiled in Lower Simcoe street (downtown Toronto) to celebrate Indigenous views.
The event which took place on Orange Shirt Day was attended by City councillor (Spadina-Fort York) Joe Cressy, lead artist Tannis Nielsen, and other muralists from the local Indigenous community.
Nielsen, who is of Metis/Anishinaabe and Danish ancestry, began the project in 2017 and welcomed young artists from Toronto’s Indigenous community and others to complete the wallcoverings.
The Water Wall project, on the east side of the underpass, is inspired by the work of Josephine Mandamin, an Anishabaabewe grandmother who walked almost 18,000 km (11,185 miles) around each of the Great Lakes to bring attention to the physical plight of water.
The west portion of the underpass, called the Elder/Honour Wall, comprises of 28 portraits of Indigenous Peoples named by the local community while honouring the group’s elders and leaders of the neighbourhood.
Orange Shirt Day is held annually to promote awareness about the Indian residential school system and the impact it had on Aboriginal communities in Canada for more than a century.
“The Elder-Teacher Honor wall ‘N’ gekaajig Kidowog’ is created to acknowledge the Indigenous elders and leaders of the local community,” said Nielson “It is my intention that all who see this mural will gain a better understanding of where they are located geographically, remember that Toronto is located upon Indigenous territory, and deepen their consciousness politically, socially, and environmentally.”
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