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Art depicting Viola Desmond displayed on building where she was arrested in 1946 – Global News



An art display paying tribute to Viola Desmond is nearing completion on the building where the civil rights icon took her most high-profile stand against racial inequality in Canada.

Desmond, a Black Nova Scotian who is commemorated on Canada’s $10 bill, refused to leave her seat at the Roseland Theatre on Nov. 8, 1946.

The segregated movie theatre relegated black patrons to the balcony at the time, while floor seating was reserved for whites. Desmond, who was shortsighted and could not see properly from the back, sat in the floor section and refused to leave.

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The beautician and entrepreneur from north end Halifax was dragged out of the theatre by police, arrested, thrown in jail for 12 hours and fined.

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It would take 63 years for Nova Scotia to issue Desmond, who died in 1965, a posthumous apology and pardon.

The art on the side of the recently renovated Roseland Theatre was chosen through a contest created by the law firm MacGillivray Injury and Insurance Law.

A news release from the firm said lawyer Jamie MacGillivray acquired the building in 2015, after it had been condemned, and he has restored and renovated it, with the art display featuring prominently on an exterior wall.

Click to play video 'Viola Desmond tribute among murals being added to Mulgrave Park in Halifax'

Viola Desmond tribute among murals being added to Mulgrave Park in Halifax

Viola Desmond tribute among murals being added to Mulgrave Park in Halifax

The pieces on the building, which include several that depict Desmond sitting behind bars, are among more than 400 that were submitted for consideration.

Each of the winning submissions was photographed and sent to a manufacturer in Europe, where they were digitally printed onto panels capable of withstanding exterior display.

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The committee hired contractors to mount the panels over the summer and there is also a plan to install a metal film strip, which will be woven through the artwork panels.

“This building, which for many decades bore nasty scars of racial injustice and unrest, has now been transformed into an artistic showcase of hope, peace, unity, diversity, and last but not least, inclusion,” said Henderson Paris, chair of the Viola Commemorative Committee, in a news release.

Read more:
Winnipeg’s embattled Canadian Museum for Human Rights has history of controversy

Desmond’s story went largely untold for a half-century, but in recent years she has been featured on a stamp, and her name graces a Halifax harbour ferry.

A Toronto park and streets in Montreal and New Glasgow bear her name, and she was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2017.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2020.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Process of bringing more public art to downtown Charlottetown begins again – The Journal Pioneer




At a glance

Following are some of the ideas submitted to Charlottetown’s arts advisory board on the types of public art people would like to see:

• Large murals on plain side of buildings

• Water fountains

• Bench art

• Painting the Irving tanks

• Urban lounge furniture for city’s parks

• Suspended overhead lighting

• Artistically designed lighting systems

• Locally-made Christmas decorations

• Roundabout art

Did you know?

• Anyone with an idea for public art or landowners willing to have a mural painted on the side of their building should email MacLeod at

Efforts to add some splashes of public art around downtown Charlottetown are moving forward.

The city’s arts advisory board met on Tuesday and voted to move to the next stage, which is to seek out landowners who might be willing to have a mural painted on the side of the building.

The board hosted an open house at The Guild on March 5 to give the public a peek at the many ideas which were submitted as part the Imagine Charlottetown initiative. However, everything came to a screeching halt shortly after that when public health restrictions were put in place, all but putting the public art process on hold.

However, the Imagine Charlottetown initiative is back on the rails again.

“We’re not moving as fast as we would like to, but we are putting our ducks in a row to start the process of creating ore public art in downtown Charlottetown,’’ Barb MacLeod, chairwoman of the arts advisory board, told The Guardian following Tuesday’s meeting.

Barb MacLeod, chairwoman of Charlottetown’s arts advisory board, asks people to picture a man playing the piano on the utility and electrical pipes behind her on this building in the downtown core. Painting images on the sides of buildings is one of the many ideas her group has received in its Imagine Charlottetown project. Dave Stewart/The Guardian – SaltWire Network


The board has decided to start the process by trying to find locations for murals because it was the top suggestion when the board put out a call for ideas. A key part of that process is finding ideal locations and willing landowners.

They’re hoping to find at least a handful of landowners in the downtown area who think a touch of colour would look nice on the side of their building.

MacLeod is quick to point out that they have no intention of putting a mural on the side of any sort of historic building.

“We’re trying to take the areas that are not attractive and make them more attractive. As beautiful as Charlottetown is, there are a few bits and pieces that aren’t too shiny. Maybe some landowners will read this article in the paper and think their building would be perfect and want to be put on the list. All we’re doing is creating a list.’’

Willing landowners will be asked to sign what the board is calling a pre-approval agreement, which is not binding.

“It just says, ‘right now, we’re pretty interested in having you consider our building for a mural’. That’s step one.’’

This building in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal in Montreal, Que., is an example of what Charlottetown’s arts advisory board is talking about when it means developing more public art in the downtown. Murals on buildings is the first step in the process. - Contributed
This building in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal in Montreal, Que., is an example of what Charlottetown’s arts advisory board is talking about when it means developing more public art in the downtown. Murals on buildings is the first step in the process. – Contributed


Once the board comes up with a handful of locations it will submit the list to the planning department. The challenges are this point will be dealing with city bylaws.

Once it gets approval from planning, it will then submit the dimensions of the buildings before requesting ideas from local artists. However, the artists who submit ideas won’t be the ones painting the actual murals.

“The painting of the mural is done by a mural team. And, all of that would have to be costed out, according to the size of the mural.’’

MacLeod estimates each mural would cost between $100 and $500, all depending on the size and detail.

MacLeod acknowledges it’s not the best time to be asking the city for money.

“But, we’re still going to ask and try and get one mural done a year for the next three years,’’ she said.

Dave Stewart is the municipal reporter for The Guardian.


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Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibition puts spotlight on Inuit clothing and jewelry




This beaded amauti would have been worn on special occasions. (Lenard Monkman/CBC)


Art fans will have a chance to preview some of the work that will be featured at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit art centre at a new exhibition on Inuit clothing and jewelry design.

“The amount of detail that goes into making some of the parkas and then even the smaller, finer jewelry pieces, it really is spectacular to see,” said Jocelyn Piirainen, curator of the Inuk Style exhibition.

The exhibition opened Oct. 10 and runs until May 2. The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit art centre, which unveiled its name — Qaumajuq — on Wednesday, is expected to open in 2021.

Inuk Style features work from Inuit clothing designers and jewelry makers from all across the Canadian Arctic. The items from the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s permanent collection as well as the Government of Nunavut’s Fine Arts Collection, which is on long-term loan at the gallery.

Piirainen is Inuk, from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and is the assistant curator of Inuit Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

“I felt that these pieces are really quite contemporary and some of these works, I feel like they haven’t been given… enough spotlight,” said Piirainen.

Many of the pieces are considered wearable pieces of art and include hand-carved necklaces and jewelry, and a number of amautis — winter parkas worn and designed by Inuit women — some of which include intricate beading detail.


Jocelyn Piirainen is the Assistant Curator of Inuit Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. She pitched Inuk Style to highlight the contributions of past and present Inuit designers. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)


Piirainen said today’s Inuit designers are often paying homage to the past by fusing old techniques with modern contemporary design, creating something new.

“I’ve been noticing that with Inuit artists and some Indigenous artists, that they have mostly been influenced by a lot of the elders and the traditional kind of styles and designs, and then making it their own,” said Piirainen.

“There’s a lot of contemporary jewelry artists and contemporary seamstresses that are taking from what they know and what they’ve grown up with, in terms of design work.”

‘You know right away that it’s Inuit’

Martha Kyak is an artist and clothing designer from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, who also teaches Inuktitut and Inuit history at Nunavut Sivuniksavut college in Ottawa.

When she moved to Ottawa nearly 10 years ago, she needed to supplement her income. She started making parkas, advertised them on social media and then turned it into a business called InukChiq, a riff on the term inukshuk.

Kyak doesn’t have a piece in the Inuk Style exhibition, but has contributed an amauti which will be on display at the Qaumajuq art centre when it opens in the new year.


This Canada Goose parka was designed by Inuk seamstress Mishael Gordon. (Lenard Monkman/CBC)


When it comes to Inuit style in general, she said the designs are inspired by the northern climate.

“Since Inuit live in a cold place, there’s a lot of warm clothing,” said Kyak.

“There’s parkas and the amauti is one of the unique designs — where you carry a baby in the back, and the tail. It’s so unique and [different from] other cultures. You know right away that it’s Inuit when you see this garment.”

Kyak said contemporary Inuit clothing style is not much different than the past and that she was taught how to make clothing by her late grandmother, Letia Panipakoocho.

“If you look at old photos, you can tell how creative and innovative the Inuit were,” said Kyak.

“When I was growing up, that’s all I saw. They are the ones that inspired me, especially my grandmother who was blind. She was still able to sew and watching her sewing, that inspired me not to stop, even when there’s obstacles.”

One of the items that is on display at the Inuk Style exhibition is a parka that was part of a collaboration between Inuit seamstresses and the Canada Goose outerwear company in 2018.

Kyak said she hopes partnerships between Inuit artists and companies like Canada Goose will continue and hopes that the designs become mainstream.

“For my design in the future, I think it should be more global. Other retailers… should be buying Inuit designs or Indigenous designs,” said Kyak.

The Inuk Style exhibition will be on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery until May 2021.

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Winnipeg Art Gallery renames its Inuit Art Centre as Qaumajuq – The Globe and Mail



A rendering of the Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Michael Maltzan Architecture/Inuit Art Centre

The Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is now Qaumajuq.

The WAG announced Wednesday that a circle of language keepers have given an Inuktitut name to the centre. Qaumajuq (pronounced HOW-ma-yourq) means “It is bright, it is lit,” a reference to the light that flows into the new building through its glass front.

The centre, which was set to open next month, is now expected to launch in February, 2021. It will house the largest public collection of Inuit art in the world, holdings that include more than 7,000 pieces on long-term loan from the government of Nunavut.

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The art includes contemporary prints, drawings and sculptures, and rare historic pieces, most of which will be on public display for the first time. The centre, which will launch with free admission for all Indigenous visitors, will feature a glass vault, a system of open storage letting people see a larger number of works.

The renaming of Qaumajuq, which the WAG says is the first of its kind at a major art institution in Canada, is an initiative that responds to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, both of which include articles stressing the importance of Indigenous languages.

The language keepers representing both Inuit communities and Indigenous peoples in the Treaty 1 territory where the WAG stands have also given the original gallery building an Anishinaabemowin name: Biindigin Biwaasaeyaah, meaning “Come on in, the dawn of light is here.” The gallery will continue to be known as the Winnipeg Art Gallery, but the Biindigin Biwaasaeyaah name is intended to signify the presence of Indigenous languages at the institution.

The names were arrived at by virtual consultations lead by Dr. Julie Nagam and Dr. Heather Igloliorte, co-chairs of the WAG Indigenous advisory circle, and joined by a group of fluent Indigenous language keepers and elders. The group included both the Inuit, and First Nations and Metis from the Winnipeg area. The languages represented are Inuktitut (Inuit), Inuvialuktun (Inuit), Anishinaabemowin (Anishinaabe/Ojibway), Nêhiyawêwin (Ininiwak/Cree), Dakota (Dakota), and Michif (Metis), and the names can be heard at

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