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Mural festival parking it in the city for next artistic installment

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
June 24th, 2023

The city’s two main parks are the canvasses for the latest murals to grace the walls of Nelson for the Nelson International Mural Festival.

The Nelson and District Arts Council (NDAC) has received approval from the City of Nelson to allow two murals to be painted on City-owned property: on the change house located at Lakeside Park; and on the sea can located at Gyro Park.

Proposed as part of this year’s annual Nelson International Mural Festival, the two murals are part of a tradition that has gone on since 2018, with City council approving multiple proposed murals for City property.

The Lakeside mural is designed by Fathima Mohiuddin, an United Arab Emirates-born-and-raised, Canadian immigrated, artist based between Toronto and Dubai, while the Gyro mural is designed by local artist Jaymie Johnson.

Mohiuddin will be working over the shutters, the doors and the pillars of the Lakeside change house.

“I have been working on humans for the last year but this is a nice moment to sort of acknowledge that when humans do stop being so self-involved, they are part of a larger system and co-existence really is a better way,” she said in her design concept statement.

Johnson’s design depicts a nighttime scene inspired by the native plants and historic pool at Gyro Park and draws on her own experiences at the park. The native plants featured include: false solomon’s seal; nootka rose; ponderosa pine; arnica; thimbleberry; saskatoon berry; and silky lupin.

“Swimming in Gyro Park is a childhood memory — and swimming at nighttime a teenage memory — both shared dearly with other locals,” she said in her design concept statement.

City policy states that the Cultural Development Committee (CDC) must review mural applications and that its recommendation must be taken into account before a permit is issued. The CDC had recommended that both murals be approved.

“The City has already provided funding for the proposed murals through its grant to the festival,” said City legislative coordinator Sonya Martineau. “Funding for the proposed murals has also been provided by the B.C. Arts Council and the Regional District of Central Kootenay Area E.”

Fathima Mohiuddin

Fathima’s work embodies her third-culture identity in the sense that it is a hybrid medley of many influences and, in the end, a voice of her own.

Addressing her own curiosity about the world, our place in it, and other existential conundrums, Fatspatrol works heavily with symbolism and narrative to share her stories and learnings and find universal sentiments.

Whilst often referencing representations of freedom, triumph, and resilience, her work and style mirrors her own break away from cultural and religious restraints, imposed identities and definitions, and a journey into the subconscious.

Passionate about arts’ social impact, Fats’ work in recent years has made its way to public walls in 10 countries. She continues a studio practice in drawing and painting which includes a number of brand-related commercial projects.

Fathima has obtained a BA in Art and Culture from the University of Toronto and an MA in  Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2010 she was awarded the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award and founded The Domino, an artist-run platform in Dubai.

Source: Nelson and District Arts Council

Jaymie Johnson

As a multidisciplinary artist and educator with a studio-based and community-engaged practice, Johnson is both rooted in investigating and building relationship with place through engagement with plants as subject matter and material.

Her work spans the mediums of drawing, printmaking, ephemeral installation, community participation and skill-sharing and botanical dye and ink-making.

Johnson holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2015) accompanied by  integral and on-going mentorship from Sharon Kallis of EartHand Gleaners Society and Dr. Cameron Cartiere of Border Free Bees.

She has facilitated various environmental and community-engaged public art projects in collaboration with EartHand and Border Free Bees in addition to organizations such as the Vancouver Biennale and VanCity.

She has participated in residencies across B.C. with Parks Canada, the Caetani Cultural Centre, and the AiRS Program with the Vancouver School Board and Emily Carr University.

Johnson currently resides on the traditional, ancestral and unceded təmxwulaʔxw (homeland) of the Sinixt peoples in her hometown of Nelson. The Ktunaxa, Yaqan Nukij Lower Kootenay Band, and Syilx peoples, and the Métis are also connected with this land, where she is grateful to grow, glean, and process fibre and dye plants alongside other curious artists.

Source: Nelson and District Arts Council

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