A New Mural Brings Beauty to Boyle Street Community Services
October marked the completion of a large and colourful mural painted in honour of the Indigenous women who make up our community. Titled “Connected,” this beautiful painting takes up three large panels on the west fence in the courtyard attached to Boyle Street Community Services. The mural displays six portraits of community members and was created by Tristen Jenni, an Indigenous artist from Chakastaypasin Band in Saskatchewan who is Plains and Woodland Cree. She currently lives and creates art in Edmonton. The mural project was supported by the Inner City Recreation and Wellness Program.
The mural was part of a series of projects focused on removing barriers to recreation and wellness activities for marginalized Indigenous females experiencing houselessness in Edmonton and was completed with funding from the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
The mural artist, Tristen Jenni, speaks to her inspiration for the piece. “In this mural, I was wanting to show our power as women no matter where we come or where we have been,” she explains. “We are the keepers of the land. The earth we walk on, the ground we touch, the sun that warms us connects us to her and to one another. In Indigenous culture, our women have always been the keepers of the land, our mothers, our teachers. They hold the gift of life. We are all connected. Hiy Hiy.” To see more of Tristen’s work, follow @tristen.jenni.art on Instagram.
The mural not only has female community members as a focal point, but it also acts as a beautification of the community to which the mural is home. So much effort goes into beautifying the downtown area for people who come here to work, dine, watch games and concerts, attend events, or play in the area. However, there is considerably less for those who access services and live in the community. The courtyard beside Boyle Street Community Services acted as a refuge for activities held outside of the building. Those activities simultaneously maintained safety and fostered community during the summer months of the pandemic.
_Rebecca Kaiser, Program Coordinator