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Indigenous artist chosen to paint mural at Edmonton’s IKEA store

Lance Cardinal works on a 40-foot-long mural inside Edmonton's IKEA store.
Lance Cardinal works on a 40-foot-long mural inside Edmonton's IKEA store. Global News

A local Indigenous artist has been chosen to paint a large-scale mural inside the IKEA store in south Edmonton.

Lance Cardinal is currently working on a 40-foot-long (12-metre) mural that represents the Seven Grandfather Teachings: respect, honesty, truth, humility, courage, wisdom and love.

“These are such important teachings that we hold dear and that is the First Nations community, the Inuit community and the Metis community from the west coast to the east coast,” Cardinal explained.

“These Seven Grandfather Teachings really teach us how to relate to each other as human beings in a positive way.”

Lance Cardinal works on a 40-foot-long mural inside Edmonton’s IKEA store.
Lance Cardinal works on a 40-foot-long mural inside Edmonton’s IKEA store. Global News

Cardinal was approached by the retail giant a few months ago, interested in a mural that represents the Treaty 6 territory. Cardinal said the conversations fell flat when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but recently started up again.

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He said his mural, and what it represents, is more important now than ever, with conversations about systemic racism in the forefront.

“The importance of it seemed more relevant now,” he said. “This time it was for a different reason — to spread a message — a message of understanding, especially now in the current climate with the Black Lives Matter movement happening, I think it was really important for me as an artist to create work that will help bring people together, that will really help unite us as human beings.

“These teachings are really what we need to be doing right now — finding ways to understand each other, to find courage and humility and to have bravery to be open-minded and find ways to love each other unconditionally and that’s what this really does.”

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Each teaching is represented by a different animal.

“All of these animals represent the different teachings based on what they do in their lives,” Cardinal said.

The bear, for example, represents courage, Cardinal said.

“Because the mama bear will always protect her cubs no matter what and she’ll still run her entire household, get everything done that she needs to get done. So this kind of thing relates to us as people to have courage to fight for what we believe in.”

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The mural will take about a week to complete. When it is finished, a dedication ceremony will take place.

“People will be able to stop in here and read about the different sacred teachings that will be on the walls and to understand what each one means and possibly learn to love their neighbour a little bit more and have more understanding of people who are not like themselves.”