Painting on the walls


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This article was published 03/01/2020 (1247 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Jackie Traverse grew up in the North End, admiring Indigenous artwork and murals projected on the sides of buildings.

Now, at 50 years old, she will add her name to the list of artists who have covered Winnipeg’s walls.

Traverse was selected to create a painting for Red River College’s new Innovation Centre, a 100,000-square-foot social hub set to open in the Exchange District in 2021.

Supplied photo Artist Jackie Traverse grew up in the North End.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was really excited,” she said.

Traverse, a multi-disciplined Anishinaabe artist, was shortlisted along with four other artists and was eventually chosen by RRC’s selection committee, with help from the Winnipeg Arts Council.

The idea Traverse pitched was inspired by The Forks, where the Red River and Assiniboine River meet. The visual will include the 13 moons, people, bear paws, and the Oodena Celebration Circle — Oodena is an Ojibwa word for “heart of the community.”

“Just to give some history to why our people are drawn to this area,” Traverse said.

The Innovation Centre will create a space for students, businesses, and entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate through projects and research in Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley.

“(Traverse’s) concept depicts a traditional gathering place and we were inspired by that connection,” Patrick Kuzyk, chair of the selection committee, said in a statement.

The illustration will span roughly 1,000 square-feet. Traverse, who is a graduate of the University of Manitoba’s fine arts program, chose to paint the visual in a “woodlands” style. The distinct art form, which is commonly used in Indigeous art, typically utilizes bright colours and bold lines and depicts X-ray views of the subject(s).

Traverse has been painting woodlands since before art school. While she was attending school, it was not respected as “fine art,” she said.

Supplied photo Jackie Traverse painted her mural in "woodlands" style — a style often portrayed in Indigenous artwork.

Woodlands was influenced by The Indian Group of Seven, a group of Indigenous artists who established Professional National Indian Artists Incorporation in the 1970s.

“I’m really happy. I worked hard on this piece. It feels really good to showcase that style and to keep the woodlands style relevant,” she said.

The art piece will be revealed at an event later this year.

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