A group of young Inuit artists from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, will be unveiling a giant mural in the ByWard Market this weekend, and it's an accomplishment they never could have imagined.
The mural was made possible because the Embassy of Imagination, an arts organization run by artists Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson, mentored teenagers in the North to bring their ideas to life.
The Embassy of Imagination partnered with the Ottawa School of Art on the project.
The mural is titled Tunnganarniq, which means "fostering good spirits, by being open, welcoming and inclusive."
The centrepiece of the work is a life-sized bowhead whale. The artists were inspired to paint it after hearing a story of a young whale that survived a harpoon attack. When the animal was finally captured, to the hunter's surprise, a 100-year-old harpoon was discovered deep inside its body.
Parr Josephee, 18, is one of the youth who helped design and paint the mural. For him, having the opportunity to showcase his creativity and artistic talents has filled him with joy and confidence.
"Before I started art, I never thought it would get me this far," Josephee said. "I'm in Ottawa painting a big wall — never thought that would happen in my life."
The official unveiling is set for July 16 at 87 George St.