“Take it to the Wall” – Surrey

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Wayfinder Project-Surrey BC
“Take it to the wall”- for Human Rights
“Knowing is not enough”

The Michelle Loughery Wayfinder Project  produced a large scale anti racism mural in Surrey, British Columbia. By continuing its tradition of working with youth, community members, artists and human rights advocates, The Wayfinder Project created a significant piece of thought provoking art that will bring light to issues, both past and present, of human rights in our great nation of Canada.

The project has been called a palimpset of the land, as it will represent the countless layers of culture that have contributed to the growth of our province. Like a palimpsest, this mural will be created of layers, each bringing light and color to specific groups of people and significant events in our history. Colors will be laid in such a way as to support the layers above and below, creating a “map” of multiculturalism that, when read as a whole, will tell the story of our nation and the many cultures it has taken to build this place.

Another evocation of palimpsest implies the erosion of soil. With this in mind, we will use the mural to wear down established barriers in our communities. These barriers, between races, cultures, religions and generations, will be broken by the mural, and with our mantra that we are human first, potential second. The faces featured on the mural will have no specific race, and will in fact appear to morph between two or more racial groups at a time. They will be backed by the layers of history and of the collective experience, and by the memories of what it cost, in terms of human rights, to build this country and community.

This innovative project uses mural arts as a method to build leadership and reduce violence among young urban men and women (ages 12‐25). The project identified and trained youth leaders in a constructive dialogue and visioning process, and in the design and implementation of a large-scale community mural project. Students participate in community assessments and documentation (including blogging), and in the actual visioning and painting processes as well. The result is a stunning work of art and visual reminder of the ongoing efforts and commitment of youth leaders working toward sustainable, social, environmental and economic development in their communities.

The purpose of the “Take it to the Wall “ Wayfinder Mural Project was to mobilize a core group of youth to become an effective force for social change in communities struggling with racial and generational discrimination, substance abuse, violence, and social exclusion.

Using experienced mentors, peer learning, community service, and employment and trade skills to give youth an opportunity to become leaders and role models. Our programs further develop students into youth facilitators with the skills, self-confidence, and community trust to engage themselves with their peers in ways that will continue to serve the community and Canada.

In response to this year‘s conference theme, Non Satis Scire: To Know Is Not Enough, the AREA GSC is partnering with the SAME (Surrey Appreciates ME) Project to paint a community mural that is designed by Surrey School District 36 students and master muralist Michelle Loughery.
This project will encapsulate the mission of the SAME project—to engage youth as mentor-leaders in community contexts while emphasizing anti-racism, belonging, diversity, and inclusion. It will provided AERA participants a significant opportunity to have informal conversations with high school students from the Vancouver area‘s largest school district.
Such conversations may provide AERA participants deeper insight into the Surrey and Vancouver contexts and allow students to contribute and take significant pride in their community while working alongside AERA participants to provide a lasting legacy to the City of Surrey.

Master muralist Michelle Loughery notes, “Public Art enhances the quality of life of a community by helping to define and formulate responses to social, economic, cultural, and political issues faced by a community.”