The Labyrinth of Learning on the north wall of Creative Retirement, 270 Sherbrook.
Click on the mural above for a large version (.45meg)
Artist's Betty Smith ,Charlie Johnston, Sarah Johnston and Rashmi Mehta. Inset - Elyssa Stelman, Dara Finlay and her daughter Talia
The 100' wide by 22' tall "Labyrinth of Lifelong Learning" mural covers the north wall of our Seniors' Education Centre at 270 Sherbrook Avenue. The labyrinth represents a symbolic pathway depicting the many faces of our community and our common humanity. Anne Nesbitt, a long-time CRM instructor, inspired the concept with her labyrinth design. Well known mural artist Charlie Johnston of C5 Artworks designed and oversaw the painting of the mural.
Co-ordinated by Creative Retirement staff member, Ellen Hartle, this was an intergenerational community development project. Paul Chorney of West Broadway Development was a most helpful resource in suggesting various neighbourhood organizations as partners and attending planning sessions. Execution of the mural involved local artists Sarah Johnston, Elyssa Stelman and Dara Finlay, West Broadway resident Mitch Yamamoto, Ellen Hartle and Creative Retirement members Betty Smith and Rashmi Mehta. Children from Mulvey School, and children and adults from Art City and Wolseley Family Place painted four panels nicknamed "KAYAK" for Kommunity and Youth Art Konsortium that extend the concept of art and lifelong learning to the front of the building. Charlie Johnston and University of Manitoba student Jason Brewster installed the panels. (See details and comments on their experiences below).
The equipment and scaffold used on the 22 x 100 wall
The project was financed by grants from West Broadway Small Grants Program, Neighbourhoods Alive! Take Pride Winnipeg, Creative Retirement Manitoba, Sum Quod Sum, Holding Association, Inc. and the Rotary Club of Winnipeg West. Material donors included Rona Home & Garden,1333 Sargent Avenue, Western Paint ,521 Hargrave and Habitat Re-Store. McDonalds, 644 Portage Avenue generously provided meals for the painters during July and August.
The "Labyrinth of Lifelong Learning" mural project has been a very satisfying project from start to finish, with wonderful co-operation and support from West Broadway groups and residents. Many tourists, passers-by and members stopped to chat, comment on the work, and express their appreciation for the initiative taken by Creative Retirement to beautify the neighbourhood.
Review by Cheney Lansard of the mural:
"This one is just a great breath of fresh air. Loose painterly style. Vibrant without being gaudy. I had the fun realization when reading the notes on the mural about the labyrinth as a meditative exercise, that I was doing just that when I first saw this mural, before having read anything. I was an admirer of this one when I first saw it and am happy to be able to cast a vote for it. The inclusion of Carol Shields was a nifty surprise even though I am not so much a fan of overt mural memorials as murals tend to fade and weather over time more than any memorial really should, no matter how well they are painted and protected. Having said that, it brought a grin to my face when I recognized her and her being one of many people in the flower labyrinth mitigates any negative feelings I would have towards a "memorial" type mural, as there is an inclusion in a bigger community picture of the figure to be remembered without it becoming maudlin. Just love that energy. Its a terrific piece. "
The following submissions are from the Wolseley Family Place and Art City mural co-ordinators. We asked them to describe their approach to painting the community panels on the front of the building.
Article submitted by Carey Sinclair of Wolseley Family Place Inc.:
The mural we did for Creative Retirement consists of 2 panels that represent Aboriginal values and the Medicine Wheel. The first shows four figures done in different colors. The color Red represents a Baby which would sit in the East. Blue represents the Adolescent who sits in the South. Yellow is the Adult and would sit in the West. Finally White is for the Elder who sits in the North. This is not to say that these nations stay in these stages, but that there are different stages of life we go through. The colors represent the directions: Red for the East, Blue for the South, Yellow for the West, and White for the North.
Also each direction represents nations. East (Red) is for the people from this land of aboriginal decent and such. South (Blue) is for the people of Color. West (Yellow) is for people from Asia and such. North is for the White people. Each direction also has an animal to represent it, and other things such as medicines and the elements which I did not include.
The second panel has the text: "All Nations Hold These Teachings." It also has colors to represent each direction and nation. In each hand there is an animal which represents a teaching. The Eagle is Love, the Beaver is Wisdom, the Turtle is Truth, the Buffalo is Respect, the Wolf is Humility, the Bear is courage, and the Sabe (also known as Sasquatch) is Honesty. I want to elaborate a little more on the text. The text and the different colors and figures are to show us how to share with each other, as well as with each and every nation. It is not just for the people who we choose to only share with, but all is to be shared by the human race, not as separate nations.
Creative Retirement consulted with Art City and Wolseley Family Place to determine how to acknowledge the youth contribution to the panels. We decided to provide first names only due to privacy concerns regarding the children.
Lead mural artist was Carey Sinclair with assistance from:
Anita, August, Conor, Curtis, Cynthia, Darryl, Darrylynn, Delia, Destin, Diane, Florene, Juliana, June, Katrina, Margaret, Marla, Nancy, Ronda, Stephanie, Steve, and Sylvester
Carey Sinclair of Wolseley Family Place Inc.
Article submitted by Jennie O'Keefe of Art City:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for having us participate in your mural project. The kids here at Art City had a wonderful time coming up with ideas for the mural and actually seeing there ideas come together. We can't wait to see the panels we painted up on the beautiful mural you guys have been working so hard at.
Lisa Wood and Jenny O'Keefe of Art City
Here are the names of the mural artists and a brief description of the murals:
Leah, Shani, Breanne, Megan, Britnie, Shantika, Kyla, Dwight, Nathan, Melissa, Jamie, Bradley, Samantha, Gabe, and Taylor.
Provider of light and energy the sun gives life to all living things. The round shape of the sun embodies the cycle of life and regeneration. The cycle of life symbolized here are the flowers set against the endless sky.
Love paves the path for all of our relations. Love is what binds our societal fabric that is composed of all races, ethnic backgrounds, genders, and ages.
The Medicine Wheel:The North:
The Medicine Wheel is a ceremonial tool which is symbolized by a cross within a circle. Each section of the medicine wheel represents a colour, a direction and it's corresponding totem animal.
- The totem of the north is the Buffalo which represents abundance for giving itself for food clothing and more.
- The colour of the North is White representing that of balance and purity.
- the totem of the East is is the Eagle. The eagle soars high and has the ability to see great distances.
- the colour of the East is yellow. Yellow is the colour of the sun, and brings us energy.
- the totem of the South is the Coyote. Coyote is the trickster- he shatters our illusions and laughs at himself. The Coyote teaches us to examine our emotions
- the colour of the South is red - the colour of life force (blood), health and vitality.
- the totem of the West is the bear. The Bear brings us strength and represents introspection.
- the colour of the West is black. Black is the colour of mystery and of the unconscious.
Thanks again, Jennie O'Keefe (Mural Coordinator)
616 Broadway Avenue, Winnipeg MB R3C 0W8
phone:775.9856 fax: 784.2882
The north wall of 270 Sherbrook before the project starts
Primers on, background green in progress
Creative Retirement Manitoba 270 Sherbrook St Winnipeg MB R3C 2B9 ph 204-949-2565 fx 204-957-7839