Disponible/available in: Français (French)
A mural in the lounge area of MacLaren Towers created a space where residents could see a piece of themselves.
The mural – a portrait of residents and the community – was funded by an OCH Community Capital Fund. It also received support from MASC, an Ottawa-based community arts organization that brings the arts and culture alive for over 150,000 children, youth, and seniors each year.
The community inspired everything that was painted: a portrait of the MacLaren Tower building with its iconic white balcony handrails, a little food pantry next to it, a charming community garden, and cozy houses across the street.
According to the artist, Kseniya Tsoy, the portion of the mural subject happened accidentally. “We were already painting on our designated walls when the Community Developer told me that one resident said we underestimate how much it means to a person to see their language in a public space, even if it is one word. That flipped it upside down – why not write welcome in all possible languages that are at present in the building,” she said.
A local Algonquin artist, Doreen Stevens, suggested including a maple tree, which is a tree of particular importance to the Algonquin people. The inspiration for the handprint leaves came from a tenant poster.
The painting kept growing with every new person who joined. Some community members contributed their languages, and some tenants modelled for the mural.