Exploring the many murals in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada
In 2018, the Interlake Art Board established the Selkirk Mural and Public Art project. The years that followed have seen several murals decorate the city located on the banks of the Red River about 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of Winnipeg, the capital city of Manitoba, Canada.
Selkirk was incorporated as a town in 1998 and again as a city in 1998. The 2016 census listed its population as 10,278.
Selkirk calls itself the Catfish Capital of North America because of record size catches caught in its stretch of the Red River. Hence the 11-metre fiberglass statue, Chuck the Channel Cat, located on Main Street beside McDonald’s and Smitty’s.
Once a significant inland port, the city still honours it maritime roots. Read about my visit to its Marine Museum of Manitoba here.
On the day I visited the museum, I also took some time to explore the city’s fascinating murals. The murals have been painted by professional muralists assisted by a number of mentees as part of the Interlake Art Board mentoring program.
Selkirk’s downtown retains a small town feel. A number of the murals are concentrated on Manitoba Avenue and the pretty lanes running off it in the block between Eveline Street and Main Street. Although murals can be found in a few other places downtown, my visit primarily focused on this small stretch containing mural after mural.
Candance Memories Show and Shine (2021)
Candace Memories Show and Shine by artist Charlie Johnston commemorates the Candace Memories Show & Shine find-raiser, which began in 2004 as a tribute to Candace Morgoch who died in 1995. The show raises money for The Compassionate Friends, an organization offering support to grieving parents. The mural is located at 205 Manitoba Avenue.
Community Round Dance (2020)
Community Round Dance, created by Michel Saint-Hilaire, depicts people holding hands in a traditional round dance that is taking place in the middle of Manitoba Avenue during Selkirk’s annual Holiday Alley. The winter festival boasts more than 130,000 installed LED light bulbs on 40 buildings, community events, and art-forward entertainment. The mural is located at 219 Manitoba Avenue.
The Healing Path (2019)
You can’t help but be struck and impressed by The Healing Path by Charlie Johnston at 222 Manitoba Avenue. The Métis symbol becomes a beadwork path bringing people together towards healing. The Four Medicines—cedar, tobacco, sweet grass, and sage—radiate from the centre. Inside the path are two flower gardens composed of tradition beadwork motifs: Métis on the left and Ojibway/Indigenous on the right. Walking along the path are the animal totems of the Seven Sacred Teachings: Bison, Wolf, Beaver, Sabe, Eagle, Bear, and Turtle.
Don’t Judge Me Until You’ve Walked A Mile In My Shoes (2018)
Don’t Judge Me Until You’ve Walked A Mile In My Shoes by artist Mandy van Leeuwen depicts walking together.
The mural is located in a pretty laneway off 222 Manitoba Avenue.
Endangered Species (2021)
In that laneway at 222 Manitoba Avenue, you’ll also find the Endangered Species mural which highlights seven of Manitoba Endangered or Extirpated Species: the lake sturgeon, the whooping crane, white lady slipper, burrowing owl, skink, Peregrine falcon, and the Monarch butterfly. Many artists worked to create this mural: Mark Guiboche, Lizanne Laurin, Charlie Johnston, Janet Dornian, Wendy Seversen, Cynthia Boehm, Sierrah Andersen, Amber Smith, Jannie Red Eagle, Jonathon Ostask, Ashley Christiansen, Isabelle Carels, Brad Lent, Les Hummerston.
Two blocks over at the corner of Main and Morris, you’ll find the above mural painted in 2022 as part of the Endangered Species Mural Project. The mural featuring piping plovers was painted by Roger Peet, Ashley C., Sierrah A., and L².
Mashkawigaabawid Abinoojiyag or Stand Strong Children (2021)
Another pretty lane leads one street over to 226 Superior Avenue, where you’ll find Mashkawigaabawid Abinoojiiyag or Stand Strong Children. The large-scale mural by artists Jordan Stranger and Charlie Johnston honours the lives of those who attended residential schools. It features four large panels, each of which tells a story about life for Indigenous People in Canada, before, during, and after residential schools, and imagines what the future could hold. Before the work was painted, Jordan received a lot of input from First Nations communities and Elders.
Showcasing A Colourful Past (2018)
Showcasing a Colourful Past by Mandy van Leeuwen contains nostalgic items interwoven with metaphors: clouds with silver linings, a garden gnome with a chip on his shoulder, a glass half full, and an elephant in the room. It is located at 246 Manitoba Avenue.
Prairie Crocuses (2020)
Members of the community designed the mural Prairie Crocus and Charlie Johnston painted it on the wall of a building on the corner northwest corner of Manitoba Avenue and Main Street. The mural is a tribute to his mother who loved shopping at Packer’s Women’s Fashion, a store housed in the building.
I found a number of paintings in this alley, also located off that one-block section of Manitoba Avenue. I don’t have as much information about the works, so I will simply share my photos. With the murals touching on topics like abuse, bullying, and homelessness, there does appear to be a common theme of respect and human rights.
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