Mural celebrates Black excellence

·3 min read

The Davidson Centre is now home to a new mural, painted on the equipment shed in front of the outdoor walking track.

Jenny Hunter, who had the idea of the mural more than a year ago, was on site with her daughter Maya, watching the progress of the project.

Hunter and friend/colleague Meag Durkin had presented the idea to council earlier this year.

To develop the concept and decide on a theme and appropriate graphics, they reached out to members of the Black community in Kincardine and Grey Bruce, asking if they had any ideas to share. Hunter said some “shared their experiences when they moved here” while others asked that specific images be used. Hunter said “Canadian history is also Black Canadian history.”

Toronto muralist Phillip Saunders was chosen to create the mural. He has been creating these works of art for about seven years, and estimates he has completed 30-40 projects. Hunter says “he has an unbelievable way of bringing community together with his art and everyone can find a connection to his art.”

After receiving community feedback, Hunter and Saunders collaborated and came up with four images that “would continue to educate and bring the community together.”

The images depict Portia May White, Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, Dr. Eugenia Duodu and Andre De Grasse.

White, who passed away in 1968, was a contralto and teacher, and was the first Black Canadian concert singer to achieve international recognition. She is considered to be one of the best classical singers of the twentieth century.

Peterson, who passed away in 2015, was renowned worldwide as one of the best jazz pianists of all time. He was also known as a jazz teacher and an advocate for racial equality. His accolades include an Order of Canada, a Juno and eight Grammy awards and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the International Jazz Hall of Fame.

Duodu has earned an HB.Sc. in chemistry and biology and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Toronto. She is the CEO of Visions of Science Network for Learning, a charitable organization that empowers youth from low-income communities through meaningful engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Duodu also volunteers in global outreach organizations, boards and is an advocate for youth.

The final image is of seven-time Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse. He is the most decorated male Olympic athlete, bringing home Canada’s first gold medal in any track event since 1996.

The depictions are larger than life and brilliantly coloured. Surrounding the images are patterns of orange, yellow and red which Hunter says are the Kente pattern, a design associated with west Africa. The patterns represent knowledge, excellence and royalty, said Hunter, and are often found on traditional African clothes as well as in pop culture.

“This particular mural is around inclusion and Black representation,” said Saunders. “The visual representation of black figures helps to empower the people of that demographic.”

Saunders work can be viewed on his website at www.phillipasaunders.com.

Tammy Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent

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