Wisdom Mural - one with nature, one together
Claudia Salguero is a Colombian-Canadian muralist and multi-disciplinary artist who now lives in Ottawa. In 2020 and 2021, she brought together Indigenous Knowledge Keepers from the Algonquin, Inuit, Métis, Afro-Caribbean, Latin American, Asian, African, and Australasia cultures to create the Wisdom Mural, a tribute to Mother Earth.
Select the images below to learn more about the inspirational message behind this colourful artwork.
"I dreamed about the Wisdom Mural following roundtable discussions with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Holders. They shared teachings about their history, cultures, and ancestral teachings from around the world and universal connection and respect for Mother Earth."
In 2020, Claudia began to sketch a mural that focused on how important it is for us to connect and protect Mother Earth.
The drafting of the Wisdom Mural was guided by a 10-member Indigenous working group that included First Nations, Inuit, and Métis and seven other Indigenous representatives from around the world. A team of nearly 60 community volunteers also helped create the mural.
"Claudia Salguero had a dream to gather Elders and Wisdom Keepers to create a wisdom mural. She believed in her dream and it came through. This experience was such a great one, and all the sharing was amazing. Her mural is beautiful and symbolic." – Grandmother Francine Pryer (Aki Songideye Ikwe), Mikinak ni dodem – member of the Algonquin Nation, unceded Algonquin Territory in Canada
The mural production and community painting sessions took place between January and September 2021 under strict COVID-19 guidelines.
Dozens of community members helped create the 48 (8'x4') panels that make up the mural.
"This project was a formidable undertaking that required a huge effort and commitment by Claudia. This was demonstrated not just by the size and scope of the project but by her selection of the people she brought together to share their cultural perspectives around our responsibility to nature and each other. It was a wonderful experience in meeting the other Elder participants and I was grateful to be a part of it." – Dr. Rongo H. Wetere, Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management (FNZIM) Elder Representative, New Zealand/Australasia Region
The Wisdom Mural was a labour of love as volunteers meticulously and proudly used their paint brushes to bring the mural to life.
"The objective of the project was not only achieved but it surpassed my expectations since during the realization of the project an intercultural approach of great value was achieved by all participants." – Jaime Baquero, Indigenous participant from Colombia
The Wisdom Mural features a large sunflower emerging from a wave and the Four Directions symbol representing the Indigenous connection to the Earth, the natural cycles of life, and the spiritual forces that guide and protect us.
The mural features 1,000 stars representing the Indigenous children who attended residential schools but did not return home. Knowledge Keeper from Iraq, artist Mowafak Alrasam, painting the sunflower.
The Wisdom Mural was proudly mounted onto the south side of the Ottawa Community Housing building and was officially unveiled on August 12, 2021.
Situated at 1365 Bank Street in Ottawa, the Wisdom Mural is a reminder to each of us that we need to be one with nature, one together in protecting and respecting Mother Earth.
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