Sudbury mural showcases Indigenous teachings, connection to land

A new mural in Sudbury is showcasing Indigenous teachings, and celebrating connections with nature. It's the latest project from Myths and Mirrors Community Arts.

Mural is the latest project from Myths and Mirrors Community Arts

Adrienne Assinewai, right, collaborated with Raven Debassige, centre, and Wallace Gillard, to help her create a mural based on her design. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

A new mural in Sudbury is showcasing Indigenous teachings, and celebrating connections with nature.

On Morin Ave, passersby can now see a colourful fence mural, featuring depictions of animals and sacred medicine, in a traditional woodland style. 

"This was something that I didn't grow up seeing. I grew up seeing traditional native art in gift shops. So, it wasn't a part of you know, what I would see in my everyday life," said Adrienne Assinewai, the artist who designed the mural.

The mural is the latest project from Myths and Mirrors Community Arts, an organization that works to build community through art.

The mural is located in front of the building of Better Beginnings Better Futures, and organization that provides programs to children and families in the area. Better Beginnings worked in collaboration with Myths and Mirrors on the project. And a key part of that process was seeking input from families that attend its programs. 

A new mural, designed by arist Adrienne Assinewai, is done in a traditional woodland style. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

In recent years, Better Beginnings has put a focus on outdoor and land-based learning, and that was something many people wanted to see reflected in the mural, says program coordinator Jim Eshkawkogan. 

"What came back was really that theme around nature. And then it went from nature and it went to specifics around … some of the indigenous teachings that are shared around," Eshkawkogan said. 

This is Assinewai's first mural, and to make it a reality took some collaboration. Assinewai is allergic to latex, which is in the paints needed for the mural. So she teamed up with two other artists, who recreated her design in mural form, bringing her concept to life. 

Jim Eshkawkogan is a program manager with Better Beginnings Better Futures in Sudbury. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

The seven animals depicted on the mural each have a special significance, from the bear representing bravery, to the raven representing honesty, and the wolf, humility. 

Assinewai says the animals represent the "seven grandfather teachings," which she describes as basic "rules to use in your daily life, in order to live a good life." 

"These are teachings that I grew up with throughout my life too, and it's such a huge honour to actually be able to take that and bring it out into the public so that you know I can, we can showcase the heritage that's in Sudbury as well."

There's a colourful new mural outside the Better Beginnings Better Futures building in Sudbury and there's a lot of meaning behind it. We heard more about the mural and how the work was inspired by Indigenous teachings and community input. 8:07