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'The Ripple' makes a splash in Coquitlam

"We've had nothing but great comments," says Coquitlam's city manager in charge of the Streetscape Enhancement Program, which includes new murals around the community.

They named it "The Ripple."

That massive mural now facing Coquitlam City Hall was christened by the four members of the Raven–Tacuara Collaborative before they returned home to northern B.C. this week.

Coast Salish artist Amanda Hugon, whose grandmother is with the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation, told the Tri-City News earlier this month that the group tends to give a title toward the end of its projects to give it time to fully absorb the work.

Along with fellow Indigenous artists Travis Hebert (Cree/Métis), Stephanie Anderson (Laksilyu Wet’suwet’en Nation) and Argentinian-born Facundo Gastiazoro (Wichi/Lebanese), the foursome designed and created a pink focal point with a First Nations element: a spindle whorl.

In the past, the tool allowed Coast Salish women weave textiles of spiritual and social significance.

And, from the centre, it radiates panels in different tones of green, with floral and fauna elements — also with First Nations' designs — to indicate pollinators and the circle of life.

However, the European sparrows are painted in a "naturalistic" or realistic style, Gastiazoro told the Tri-City News, to acknowledge the presence of settlers.

@tricitynews Circle of Life. 🕊️ #tricitynews #coquitlam #mural #muralart #art #artwork #circleoflife #raventacuara ♬ Circle of Life - Leo Rojas

"The Ripple" is the tenth mural for the collaborative, having previously painted works in Chilliwack, Terrace and Smithers; its next mural will be on a housing building in Burns Lake.

On Monday (Aug. 28), the city manager overseeing the Streetscape Enhancement Program, which is designed to see busy Coquitlam neighbourhoods spruced up with public art, street lighting and furniture over the next two years, visited the finished mural.

"We've had nothing but great comments," utilities director Jonathan Helmus said.

"It's been very well received by the community."

Meanwhile, four other murals are coming this and next year also highlighting the theme of Diversity and Belonging:

  • Place des Arts: An Alice in Wonderland-inspired mural, painted in July, on the facility’s Renaissance building by youth
  • Town Centre Park Community Centre (formerly the Innovation Centre): Designed by a kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation team that's led by Sweewa (Joseph Kambeitz), a kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Elder
  • 953 Brunette Ave.: Lay Hoon Ho and Angie Quintanilla Coates
  • 928 Brunette Ave.: Laura Kwok

Funding for the murals is coming from the city's land sale reserve, as well as part of a provincial grant.

Public art pieces are also being eyed for Austin Heights and Burquitlam, Helmus said.

Do you have a commercial building in Coquitlam with a large blank wall? Email the City of Coquitlam to be considered for a mural.