New diversity mural boosts northeast Calgary's public art inventory

·2 min read
Planning for a mural at the Genesis Centre started in 2019, but COVID put the project on hold. The finished piece is now on display.  (Dan McGarvey/CBC - image credit)
Planning for a mural at the Genesis Centre started in 2019, but COVID put the project on hold. The finished piece is now on display. (Dan McGarvey/CBC - image credit)

A new mural designed and painted by a group of local youth is now on display in northeast Calgary.

The group, working with Antyx Community Arts, turned a plain wall in the Genesis Centre in Martindale into a colourful message celebrating diversity.

"We talked about what kinds of community and social issues the youth were interested in, and what ended up coming out of that was diversity," said Noor Sayadi, a program facilitator with Antyx Community Arts.

Dan McGarvey/CBC
Dan McGarvey/CBC

"We live in concrete boxes, so a big part of this is reinserting the life and passion and personality and culture back into these spaces with work about the community, for the community and by the community," said Sayadi.

The group spent months planning the mural before incorporating all their ideas into one final design.

"The youth get the opportunity to use materials and be engaged in doing a large scale project. Youth are not well trusted because they're young and they get pushed aside, but at Antyx, we trust them," she said.

Sayadi says being trusted leaves the youth feeling more empowered. She says their confidence grows and they end up forging friendships among their group.

Dan McGarvey/CBC
Dan McGarvey/CBC

"I got an amazing experience to work with friends and new people and got to see the community engaged and others enjoy it," said one of the members, Noor Bata.

The group hopes the work inspires others.

"Other people might be surprised, thinking, 'I wonder how they did this,'" said Marcus Dreger.

"Especially during COVID, we rarely got to go out and share an experience," said Warda Durrani. "So this was relieving after all the online meetings and stuff."

Dan McGarvey/CBC
Dan McGarvey/CBC

Work was supposed start in March 2020, but the pandemic put the project on hold.

"We actually bought the paint but then put it away in storage," said Sayadi.

"Thankfully, this year we were able to come back."

You can see the mural on the upper floor of the Genesis Centre's gymnasiums.

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