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Indigenous stories celebrated with new Halifax art mural installation


A new set of murals, full of colour and teachings by local Indigenous artists, are now on display on Barrington Street behind Scotia Square in downtown Halifax.

Each of the 19 murals was created by a local Indigenous artist.

“Indigenous art is being showcased all across Canada,” said Frances Palliser-Nicholas, manager of the Atelihai Inuit program. “It’s amazing to see Halifax finally giving our local Indigenous people that same opportunity to see a representation of themselves.”

The display titled “Our Stories” paints an array of subjects -- each rooted in Indigenous history.

“For my design, I did it for the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls,” said muralist Shaylene Morris, who also works as a youth support worker at the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre. “It’s a very important topic within the Indigenous communities, and it’s something I feel like we need to bring to the forefront.”

The artists range in age from nine to 55, and each piece shares a perspective of celebration, knowledge and history.

Kieran Stepan of OSO Planning + Design helped spearhead the project.

“I saw this funding opportunity come up through the Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) called the ‘Gritty to Pretty’ program,” said Stepan. “I thought of this space on Barrington Steet as it’s just like a sad wall with so many people passing by. It’s kind of overlooked.”

The DHBC “Gritty to Pretty” Placemaking Grant Program is now in its eighth year and was developed to award grants for placemaking projects in the downtown core.

Community members developed mural concepts during five workshops and learned new and traditional painting styles while completing their art pieces.

Dora Takatak of the Atelihai Inuit program hopes her public mural will speak to her people, especially those who may feel disconnected from their cultural identity.

“I’m so happy to represent my culture and my ancestors,” explained Takatak. “I just want to show people that we are still here and our culture is still strong. We want Inuit people in Halifax to know that they are not alone.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by the other artists, including Crystin Edwards.

“This is where we come from and these are our people,” Edwards said. “It’s important for everybody to know where you are, where we come from and the stories that we have to tell.” Top Stories

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