Annual mural, return of the cultural festival with large-scale murals, concerts
It is the largest canvas Bria Fernandes has ever worked on.
âIt’s huge,â 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.
âI know I can do it, but it’s still very scary,â 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.)
She also thanks the festival organizers of Synonym Art Consultation and Graffiti Art Programming for this opportunity.
“It’s special that they chose me,” says Fernandes. “Everything (Synonym) does is awesome … they add color to the city in places people wouldn’t normally go.”
The Wall-to-Wall Festival runs throughout September and features a series of in-person events and public art installations.
In addition to the two large-scale murals, the festival will install 13 pre-printed murals across the city. The photographs, paintings and digital illustrations were created by Manitoba and international artists and selected from over 200 submissions.
The festival partnered with Martha Street Studio to present the show gathered together, which takes place at the gallery at 11 rue Martha until October 8. The exhibition features works by artists Lido Pimienta, Chief Lady Bird, Isaac Murdoch, Whess Harman and Lapiztola. This Thursday, Pimienta – a Polaris Music Prize-winning musician – will talk about her visual art during an online talk with Uniter Speaker Series at 7 p.m. Visit walltowallwpg.com/gathered-together for more details.
On September 24, Peg City Car Co-op is hosting a Beer Can Wall-to-Wall Celebration and Fundraising Event at 1 Granite Way. Local drag artists will perform throughout the evening, and $ 10 coupons for beer and tacos are available, with a portion of the proceeds going to the festival.
Visit walltowallwpg.com for a full listing of events and murals locations.