McDonald’s serves up local art

·2 min read

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — When McDonald’s Canada contacted Fort William First Nation artist Ryan Pooman and asked him to produce artwork for an environmental sustainability project, he fired up his tablet and began to create.

The restaurant’s The Last Straw campaign culminates their 2021 ending of single-use plastics to improve sustainability and lessen the environmental impact of its waste products. After phasing out plastic cutlery and straws, they found a way to repurpose some of those straws into McDonald’s serving trays. The restaurant reached out to 15 Canadian artists and enlisted them to create pieces of art that reflect their views on sustainability and the environment.

“We had three different options of what we wanted to do with the artwork,” Pooman said. “There was a sustainable future, a landscape worth saving, and an upcycled world theme to choose from.”

Pooman says he chose to do the landscape worth saving.

“That’s where I came up with the idea of adding Turtle Island and having our landscape (featured) with the Sleeping Giant,” he said.

Pooman has been working at High Tide Tattoo as a tattoo artist for the past 10 years.

“I just recently started getting into painting and more of the Indigenous artwork and stuff while carrying on with my tattooing as well,” he said.

“They just reached out to me and I guess they saw my artwork online and they chose me along with the 14 other artists.”

Pooman’s artwork has been transferred to a serving tray and it has become one of 15 McDonald’s serving trays that will be donated to local Ronald McDonald House locations across Canada. The serving trays can be used at the locations or for whatever purpose they please, including a display for visiting families to enjoy or to be auctioned off as a fundraiser.

The 15 artists are Nicole Wolf, Ray Dak Lam, Jarett Sitter, Tierney Milne, Justin Currie, Chris Morin, Monika Melnychuk, Rachel Joanis, Mateusz Napieralski, Ryan Pooman, Genevieve Andersen, Anne-Julie Dudemaine, Kirsten Stackhouse, Bella Seonyoung Heo and Elana Camille.

According to the McDonald’s website, the company’s goal is to use 100 per cent of its primary guest packaging from recyclable, renewable or certified sources by 2025.

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal

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