A mock-up of the painting on the church wall St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Picton will soon be home to the largest Indigenous mural on a church in Canada.
The congregation has been given permission by award-winning Metis artist Christi Belcourt, to reproduce her Art Galley of Ontario-commissioned pice ‘Wisdom of the Universe’ on the north exterior wall of the church.
The work will be reproduced by Toronto muralist Jason Rouleau starting Tuesday, Oct. 9. The 37-foot by 36-foot mural is expected to take the MuralForm team six days to complete.
The purpose of the project is to pay tribute to the ancient wisdom within the Canadian Indigenous community—a wisdom that invites people to treat the earth and all of its creatures as sacred.
Ms. Belcourt’s artist statement concludes with:
“Perhaps it’s time to place the rights of Mother Earth ahead of the rights to Mother Earth.”
“We are deeply grateful to Ms. Belcourt for articulating this timely vision. Her work as an activist and an artist has challenged us as Canadians to rethink our relationship with the earth and with one another,” said Rev. Lynne Donovan, minister at St. Andrew’s. “We hope this mural will serve as a concrete symbol that we as a community both recognize and honour the Indigenous wisdom represented in Wisdom of the Universe. It also serves as an invitation to the wider community to appreciate the interconnectedness of all living things.”
In lieu of payment for the use of the image, Ms. Belcourt requested St. Andrew’s to make a contribution to the Onaman Collective, formed in 2014 by Ms. Belcourt and other Indigenous artists for the express purpose of connecting Indigenous youth to traditional knowledge, language and Elders.
St. Andrew’s has raised $2000 to support this work.
While the Wisdom of the Universe mural is unfolding on the exterior wall, the interior walls of St. Andrew’s will be populated with an exhibit featuring four Mohawk artists, Janice Brant, Rebecca Maracle, Doug Brant and Stephen Loney.
“We are taking small steps,” says Rev. Donovan, “towards listening to the voice and vision of our Mohawk neighbours. We have much to learn and much to unlearn.”
“This project engages two of Canada’s most vital conversations: our relationship to our Indigenous peoples and our relationship to the planet,” she added.
Support of the project is welcome in person, by clicking the ‘Donate’ button on the website , or by writing a cheque to St. Andrew’s (mural) and mailing it to:
31 King St. Picton ON K0K 2T0
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