Annual mural, return of the cultural festival with large-scale murals, concerts
It is the largest canvas Bria Fernandes has ever worked on.
“It’s huge,” says the Winnipeg fine arts student, taking stock of how many walls remain to be painted in the McMicken Street and Ellice Avenue tunnel.
The work of art, called Dream landscape, is part of the eighth annual mural and wall-to-wall culture festival and is a colorful throwback to the making of live murals, which organizers suspended last year due to the pandemic.
Fernandes’ Submission is one of two large-scale projects painted in the heart of Winnipeg this month – the second mural, coincidentally called Dreamscape crane, is by Vancouver artist Priscilla Yu and is located behind Dollarama at 295 Portage Avenue.
It’s not only that the canvas is large, it’s also that the medium and subject are a far cry from the oils Fernandes typically uses to paint realistic figures for gallery exhibitions. The mural features a caricatured woman surrounded by bright and trippy flora and fauna.
She’s outside her comfort zone, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“I know I can do it, but it’s still very scary,” she says, noting the parallels between her background and design. “(The mural speaks) of being thrown into an unfamiliar situation in life and this is where growth and opportunity can arise in this strange land.”
Fernandes is currently studying at the University of the Arts of Alberta and previously participated in Wall-to-Wall as a mural assistant. This is her first time directing a mural of her own creation and she is happy to help other local artists and mentor Mike Valcourt, who painted the original mural on the McMicken Street tunnel in 2000. (As a health and safety precaution, the festival is working with a small group of muralists, who have all been fully vaccinated.)