Sudbury

Timmins mural project bring youth, community together

An art project in Timmins is bringing young people together to share knowledge and celebrate diversity.

Coun. Kirstin Murray spearheads campaign to infuse colour, culture into Timmins' urban landscape

'We wanted to showcase Indigenous culture and heritage in a way that may have not been seen before by people within our community,' Murray says. (Supplied by Kristin Murray)

An art project in Timmins is bringing young people together to share knowledge and celebrate diversity.

Recently, the latest mural was unveiled at city hall.

Kristin Murray, a city councillor and the health promoter with Misiway Milopemahtesewin Community Health Centre, says she helped get the program started, with the idea of sharing the teachings of Indigenous elders with the city's youth. 

Part of that came as a reaction to a visit from Renu Mandhane, Ontario's Human Rights Commissioner, who said in 2018 the city is affected by "pervasive" racism.

"A lot of residents didn't really necessarily agree with that," Murray said. "So we wanted to showcase Indigenous culture and heritage in a way that may have not been seen before by people within our community."

So far, Murray said seven murals have been completed and nine more are underway.
Kristin Murray is the city councillor for Ward 5 in Timmins.

"The one that's right across from city hall... that one has a really large turtle and underneath there's some smaller animals, and the turtles seem to be protecting those other animals," Murray said.  "The animals underneath are ones that are on the brink of extinction."

The mural also features an image of the moon, an important element of Indigenous culture.

"We really have a lot of affection for the moon and the moon cycle," Murray said. "There's thirteen moons in a year cycle and Indigenous people are really dependent on the moon to do certain things, whether that be harvesting or picking berries."

'Taken legs and started running'

And so far, the feedback from the community has been "amazing," Murray said.

"It's really kind of taken legs and started running," she said. 

To give the project an infusion of creative energy, Murray said she opened the creative design up to the city's youth. 

"They talked about Timmins having a reputation of being a mining community but it's so much more than that," Murray said. "They wanted to showcase the animals, the land and just people that are proud."

Some of the youth had never painted before, she said. But by the time the mural was completed, they were able to step back from the project and get a sense of accomplishment and contrbution to a "bigger part of the community."

"If you do happen to see the one at the airport you'll notice there's a bear there. There's a goose. There's really strong prominent features and it says 'Timmins Proud' and 'Everyone has a place in Timmins.'"

Murray says she appreciates the enthusiasm brought to the mural project by the city's youth. Shown here is a mural at the Timmins Museum. (Supplied by Kristin Murray)

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