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RMG unveils new mural by Jon Colwell

November 30th, 2022

RMG unveils new mural by Jon Colwell
Erin Szikora, Project Co-Curator, Missy LeBlanc, Project Co-Curator, Jennifer French, MPP for Oshawa, Leila Timmins, Senior Curator at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Lauren Gould, CEO at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

Oshawa, ON:  On Friday, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) was pleased to unveil one of two community-informed murals at the gallery, thanks to a $44,700 Community Building Fund grant from the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Trillium Foundation as part of the Mamanaw Pekiskwewina | Mother Tongues: Dish With One Spoon Territory project. Local MPP Jennifer French and one of the project curators Erin Szikora spoke to the impact of this grant, which was awarded in 2021.

“It was wonderful to appreciate the mural by Jon Colwell as it is showcased at the RMG,” said Jennifer French, MPP for Oshawa. “I am grateful that the OTF has invested in our local gallery and the Mamanaw Pekiskwewina | Mother Tongues: Dish With One Spoon Territory project. This investment means that the community of Oshawa can experience art and Indigenous languages in various ways. Oshawa as a host community has appreciated the art and creativity which reflected our community. Thanks to the funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Mother Tongues has been a tremendously successful and engaging project,” added French.

The mural by artist Jon Colwell was on display at the Delpark Homes Centre Branch of the Oshawa Public Library before being installed at the RMG.  It will ultimately be gifted to Bawaajigewin Aboriginal Community Circle.  Developed in consultation with local Indigenous community members, the mural reflects the vibrancy and diversity of Oshawa’s Indigenous community, increasing Indigenous visibility and representation in public spaces across the city.  Another mural, by artist Jay Havens, is still on display at the Jess Hann Branch Library.  It will be permanently installed at the Carea Community Health Centre.  Both murals were produced as part of an outreach program connecting local language communities to the exhibition curated by Missy LeBlanc Taskoch pipon kona kah nipa muskoseya, nepin pesim eti pimachihew | Like the winter snow kills the grass, the summer sun revives it. 

Jon Colwell’s mural on view at Oshawa Public Libraries – Delpark Homes Centre Branch, 1661 Harmony Rd. N., Oshawa.
Jay Haven’s mural on view at Oshawa Public Libraries – Jess Hann Branch, 199 Wentworth St. W., Oshawa.
Jay Haven’s mural on view at Oshawa Public Libraries – Jess Hann Branch, 199 Wentworth St. W., Oshawa.

The project also included a two-part panel series exploring the importance of Indigenous languages with artists, language teachers, and community organizers who are at the front lines of language revitalization work in our communities.  In partnership with Oshawa Public Libraries, the RMG also hosted a Story and Song event to introduce children and youth to Anishnaabemowin with Melody Crowe.  Anyone can download a free printable copy of the Story and Song: Anishinaabemowin Colouring Book illustrated by Indigenous artists Sabrina Fontaine, Mem Ireland, Sheri Osden Nault, Skye Paul, and Michael Tiggelman, with Anishinaabemowin translations provided by Melody Crowe.

“We are committed to centering Indigenous voices in the gallery and working to address structural inequities perpetuated by the continued impacts of colonialism.  This project was beautifully conceived by Missy LeBlanc; as the exhibition travelled the country each host city or town developed their own outreach project to reflect that local community.  We’re grateful to the artists, participants, Missy, and Erin for their contributions to project, and to OTF for their funding support,” said RMG’s CEO Lauren Gould. 

Mamanaw Pekiskwewina Mother Tongues: Dish With One Spoon Territory was awarded the Galeries Ontario/Ontario Galleries (GOG) Public Program Award at an event on November 28, 2022.

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery: The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) is the largest public art gallery in Durham Region.  We believe that art cultivates connected and caring communities.  As an artist-centered and community-oriented public art gallery in Durham Region, we bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage with art that inspires new perspectives, generates meaningful conversations, and creates a sense of belonging.  We build relationships with diverse artists and communities through art. The RMG works in collaboration with artists, partners, and audiences to present dynamic and inspiring collections, exhibitions, and programs in an inclusive and equitable environment.

Today, the RMG’s collection of over 4,700 works focuses on telling the continuing story of Canadian abstraction.  Each year we present Permanent Collection exhibitions alongside special exhibitions of contemporary art and artists.  We prioritize engaging diverse audiences in new and familiar ways through our programming.  We foster community connections and partnerships to create a greater sense of belonging.  We reimagine the gallery, making space for all.  Annually, we welcome 38,000 visitors and 10,000 participants to engage in our: exhibitions, education programs, volunteering opportunities, event spaces, shop, artist-in-residence program, and digital programming.  Admission to the RMG is FREE and we typically offer over 100 free public programs each year.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grant-making in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

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