Two Indigenous artists have transformed the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) tunnel connecting the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre to the Health Sciences buildings into a mural dedicated to the importance of water security.
Métis artist Christi Belcourt and Anishinaabe artist Isaac Murdoch collaborated on the project, and with only 48 hours to finish it, U of S students also picked up some paint brushes to help complete the project.
The mural is intended to honour Indigenous people throughout time and pay tribute to the land the U of S is on.
“This is all Turtle Island. This was all Indigenous land, so this is an Indigenous place that just has colonial structures and buildings and so to me it feels good to be able to paint this here because it shows that we’re here and that we’re not gone, we’re not a part of history, we’re a part of right now,” Murdoch said.
It also draws attention to concerns surrounding the world water supply.
“Indigenous people are the climate leaders the world needs, so I believe that Indigenous people and Indigenous knowledge is what this earth needs right now,” Belcourt said.
“Indigenous people alone, if we all stood up to protect the water, it’s not going to be enough. We need non-Indigenous people to join in as well. And so that’s what we hope, is that this will appeal to everybody and everyone will see themselves as a water protector whether they are Indigenous or not.”
“I want people to feel like they can make a difference, that they can get out there and do the good work for Mother Earth,” Murdoch said.
When completely finished, the mural will feature a selfie station for those wanting to declare themselves water protectors.
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