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Wall mural of Gord Downie in Sicamous, B.C., also aims to be message of action

A wall mural of Canadian rock icon Gord Downie in Sicamous, B.C. Downie was an advocate for Indigenous rights and reconciliation. BJ Design Interiors

A colourful wall mural with a message of action is now on display in B.C.’s Shuswap region.

The mural is of Canadian rock icon Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip, who died of a terminal brain tumour in 2017.

Downie was an advocate for Indigenous rights and reconciliation, and June is National Indigenous History Month.

Read more: Glioblastoma: The brain cancer that took Gord Downie’s life

The mural is located at 1214 Riverside Avenue in Sicamous and was created by Kelowna artist Bobby Vandenhoorn.

The building that it’s painted on hosts a design work studio and a co-share workspace.

“When I bought the building, I wanted to pay tribute to the history of Sicamous,” said Brenda Dalzell, owner of the 70-year-old building and a local small business.

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“I wanted to create a visual interest in downtown Sicamous. So I had thought of numerous different murals to put on there.”

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Ultimately, Dalzell said, “it became clear to me that I needed to do something that left a message, that it resonated, that it was more than a piece of art; it actually told a story.”

Downie’s efforts on Indigenous rights, said Dalzell, was that message.

“If you follow Gord Downie and the (Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund), he left us with this message: A call to do something,” said Dalzell.

“It became clear to me that it was my time to take action, to send a message, to share the vision and the passion of Gord Downie — to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together.”

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“Who doesn’t like Gord Downie? He’s such a Canadian icon,” said Vandenhoorn, who spent approximately 15 hours creating the mural.

“He represents so much more than his music. He’s a proud Canadian, but he’s also a big supporter of the Indigenous community.”

Vandenhoorn says he enjoys creating murals of musicians. To see some of his artwork, visit his Instagram page.

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