July 19th, 2024

MHPSD unveils mural representing community connection

By BRENDAN MILLER on June 13, 2024.

Lewis Lavoie, with Global Roots Mural Mosaic, poses in front of a large mural called "Friends and Family," which was unveiled in front of a small crowd outside the Medicine Hat Public School Division's district head office Wednesday. The mural is composed of more than 2,000 individual titles that were painted by people across Canada. More than 150 were painted by residents of Medicine Hat.--NEWS PHOTO BRENDAN MILLER

bmiller@medicinehatnews.com

During a mural unveiling outside the Medicine Hat Public School Division’s head office Wednesday afternoon, Lewis Lavoie, an artist with Global Roots Mural Mosaic, spoke about the connection between tree roots as a metaphor for life as the inspiration for the work of art that symbolizes family and friends.

“This is a willow and they stand for groves, they stand for foundation and for strength,” says Lavoie. “We want people to see those kinds of meanings in it. We also put some dogs or wolves and they’re kind of the symbol of the family and the friends that we’re hoping to get together.”

Lavoie designed the mural that includes more than 2,000 individual tiles painted by Canadians across the country, and includes at least one contribution from every province.

To find the variety of artists behind each tile, Global Roots Mural Mosaic has been growing its community of artists since launching its mural art project in 2021.

Every artist was provided a tile and asked to take a photo of their completed work. Lavoie then combined every painted tile to make a one-of-a-kind mural that is now displayed outside the school division’s office.

“We have a large network of people and it just keeps growing,” explains Lavoie. “So we told them the theme is kind of friends and family so try to invite your friends and get your family to paint. People all across the country would have these painting parties and invite their loved ones to paint a tile.”

Hatters contributed more than 150 painted tiles to the mural, including students, staff members, parents, board members and other artists in the community.

“I think it’s a beautiful addition to the side of this building,” says superintendent Mark Daivdson. “How neat it is to have the art of a whole bunch of members of our community joined with members of the broader Canadian community to create one work of art that’s on the side of our building?”

Davidson says the division was approached with the idea from teachers in the Arts Academy and thought the vision was “really compelling.”

“They approached the system to see if we wanted to do it as something where the whole system came together to do it,” says Davidson. “And schools from across Medicine Hat Public decided to join in, as well as members of staff and board members.”

The mural is displayed on the south side of the division’s office along Seventh Street SW.

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