Art for community: Neighbours and university collaborate on street mural

- September 29, 2023

Overhead view of the new Larch and Jennings street mural. (Photo by John van Gurp))
Overhead view of the new Larch and Jennings street mural. (Photo by John van Gurp))

This past Saturday (September 23), residents, students and the Dalhousie community came together to bring a colourful street mural to life at the intersection of Larch and Jennings.

The project was spearheaded by local residents with the goal of promoting community connection and well-being in an area where drinking party culture and unsanctioned street parties have created considerable risks and harms for both residents and students.

The mural designed came from Mi’kmaw artist and welder Tayla Fern Paul (pictured), whose work focusses on positive ways of asserting Mi’kmaw culture into public space and mainstream culture within Mi’kma’ki. She attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, studying fine art with a focus in drawing, sculpture, and film. Her latest works include the Annie Mae Pictou Aquash mural now installed on Agricola Street, just south of North Street, and the North American Indigenous Games medal design.

Paul’s design represents a year of seasonal harvest of medicinal plants such as coltsfoot, fiddleheads, berries, Trillium flowers, mushrooms, cedar and acorns. Her intention was to have the flowers, plants, and berries scattered in a circular formation in order to feel lively and dynamic, yet gentle enough to nurture the spirit. She hopes the design brings joy while connecting with the part of us all that is essential. In response to this public offering, she would like people to understand respect for the community and Mi’kmaw Lands.

In partnership with Dalhousie, the project was also supported by Halifax Regional Municipality’s Neighbourhood Placemaking program, which supports initiatives encouraging neighbours to connect with one another through a community project. Recipients receive training, guidance, and funding for their neighbourhood project.

Photos by Nick Pearce, except for group photo courtesy HRM


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