An art installation in Toronto’s east end is commemorating five BIPOC women for their contributions to their communities.
On Saturday, the In our Nature art project was revealed at the Toronto Zoo. The mural features portraits of community leaders, mentors, social activists and artists in Scarborough.
“Often that work is done by Indigenous women, Black women, women of colour and other underrepresented communities,” said Shafia Shaikh, the lead artist with the E.W.O.C (Equity of Women of colour) Project.
Each portrait is painted over with floral designs and greenery that is expected to fade out over time to show the women emerge from the background. Viewers can also scan the QR codes attached to each portrait to learn more about the women featured.
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Shaikh said the purpose of the mural is to empower BIPOC women, change the narrative on safety and create a sense of belonging in their community.
“Far too often they are not really represented or a lot of times unrecognized or undervalued for the work that they do, so we really hope by spotlighting these five individuals, we can kind of spark that conversation of what community care looks like and who is carrying the bulk of that labour,” Shaikh said.
Lady Pearline Hamilton Morris is a community worker in Scarborough and was one of the women featured. She thanked the women who do their part in supporting their community members.
“Let us work together as women of culture. We might be from different cultures, different cuts of the earth, of the world, but I say we are one,” Morris said.
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In our Nature is part of the City of Toronto’s Cultural Hotspot Signature project, in collaboration with Mural Routes, the E.W.O.C. Project, the Toronto Zoo and The Community Arts Guild.
QR codes are also attached to listen to The Community Arts Guild choir through their phones while viewing the paintings.
The final reveal was scheduled to take place on Oct. 16.
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