In the wake of the #metoo movement, Raise Your Words, Not Your Voice encourages women to use their individual and collective voice to speak out and express themselves, but remain impeccable with their word when doing so. While painting, I realized the mural was also about supporting women in being unafraid to take up physical space, and what better way to portray this than by having a gigantic woman on a public wall literally talking up space?
Girls Are Fierce Like Tigers was inspired by a drawing I created during a residency at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster. The lady on the tiger is a representation of Durga, the warrior goddess. It’s also a nod to the graphic novel, Priya’s Shakti, which was a response to the heart-breaking gang-rape and subsequent death of Jyoti Singh in 2012. In the novel, Priya is also gang-raped and then banished from her village to which she later returns as an unlikely superhero. Like Priya, much of the work I’m doing now revolves around empowering women and championing women’s rights so I wanted to bring a bit of that into the mural. The mural is also located at a high traffic pedestrian and transit hub, which I often use, so I wanted to create something fun, colourful, and bold to provide a bit of a respite from our cold, wet Vancouver winters.
My design "covers the traffic barrier wall of the Front Street Mews and is part of the beautification of this new public space in an area that was once taken up by the western portion of the Front Street Parkade. The Mews is envisioned to become an attractive, safe and pedestrian-friendly street. The contemporary design for the mews will include a widened sidewalk, street furniture, lighting, street trees, traffic-calming, planters and angled parking to access local businesses. "
"Strathcona BIA, in partnership with HxBIA, recently installed the Hastings Urban Tree Nursery (HUTN), a series of concrete planters housing young trees that will grow under the care of local businesses until ready for transplantation to permanent locations. The HUTN will benefit the local community in many ways including supporting the local economy, providing new skills training for community members, and providing an otherwise concrete landscape with beauty, shade, and new insect and bird habitat."