Exhibitionists·Video

Most of them had never made a mural before. Now this Youth Cabinet has a permanent piece at the ROM

Amanda Parris gets a sneak peek at the ROM Youth Cabinet's stunning project.

Amanda Parris gets a sneak peek at the ROM Youth Cabinet's stunning project

The ROM Youth Cabinet at work on their mural (CBC Arts)

A meaningful new work is being unveiled at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum this month. It's a four-panel mural in a prominent location, and it was painted by a very special group: the ROM Youth Cabinet

Every Friday night, this group of young people come together at the ROM to learn, communicate and break stereotypes. It's an initiative created in 2015 based on a recommendation from the ROM's Indigenous Advisory Circle. They advised that a group be created wherein Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth could learn together through an Indigenous framework. To this end, the Youth Cabinet's 10 members meet weekly to learn from guest artists, knowledge keepers and elders.

Watch the video:

Amanda Parris learns more from the ROM's Youth Cabinet 3:36

Every year, the Youth Cabinet creates a final project together, and this year they've been given a very special opportunity at the ROM — to make a mural that will be permanently displayed in the museum.

"It's still hard to wrap my head around it," says Leslie McCue, the ROM's Indigenous Knowledge Resource Teacher who facilitates the group. "It's so beautiful to know that every time we come down those stairs, this history is going to be reflected in the ROM."

The Cabinet designed the mural and have been painting it as a group. "It's been a lot of fun," says Kristy-Anne Inglese, the Kiowa Wind Memorial Indigenous Youth Intern at the ROM. "I didn't realize I could actually keep a steady hand painting." The group put all of their learnings over the course of the year into the mural, infusing it with symbolism and personal meaning for them.

The finished mural installed at the ROM (CBC Arts)

Even the location of the mural's final installation opposite the ROM's totem poles has significance in the project. McCue explains: "The museum kind of was built around those totems. So if you look in the middle of the mural that the youth created, there is a totem there. So it was important that they're paying respect and there's a dialogue between those two pieces."

CBC Arts: Exhibitionists host Amanda Parris stopped by the ROM to meet the Youth Cabinet and get a sneak peek at the mural in progress.  

The official unveiling event for the Youth Cabinet's mural is on Monday, October 21 at 6:30 pm as part of the ROM's 3rd Monday Nights Free program, when the public has free general admission to the museum from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Meet the ROM Youth Cabinet and more on this week's Exhibitionists

In this week's episode of CBC Arts: Exhibitionists, Amanda Parris explores the Royal Ontario Museum and brings us more stories including tattoo artist Nomi Chi, a levitating screen that's a magical experience for viewers, a painter inspired by the ocean and an artist cutting the Canadian landscape into linoleum.

Stream CBC Arts: Exhibitionists or catch it on CBC Television Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT). Watch more videos here.

About the Author

Lucius Dechausay is a video producer at CBC Arts, as well as a freelance illustrator and filmmaker. His short films and animations have been screened at a number of festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Most recently he directed KETTLE, which is currently streaming at CBC Short Docs.