by Lucho Granados Ceja (of Barrio Nuevo) Basics #11 (November 2008)
On September 21st, 2008 community activists from Barrio Nuevo teamed up with several Latin American artists to paint a mural on a wall at 40 Driftwood Avenue, in the Jane-Finch community. The mural was painted in honour of the Incan prophecy of the 10th Pachacuti. The prophecy speaks of the reunification of the Eagle (the peoples of North America) and the Condor (the peoples of South America) in order to bring peace and balance to the world.
Cecilia Alejo, one the artists, said “Arts-based initiatives such as this one offer an opportunity for self expression, while at the same time providing a reflection of the community and an expression of unity.” The mural, a mixed media piece with graffiti art elements, even attracted the attention of local youth who spontaneously lent a hand. These youth not only took ownership of the mural but their street as well and provided a culturally-relevant community landmark.
Where the reality is that our neighbourhoods face decades of neglect, these sorts of initiatives allow artists to beautify them and at the same time display an element of our history on the street for the community to appreciate.
Barrio Nuevo plans on securing more space for this sort of activity in more neighbourhoods in the future. To get involved is future initiatives like this, people are encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.