Artist hopes new mural celebrating women will ‘bring warmth’ to inner-city Edmonton

A large new mural now gracing a wall in a section of downtown Edmonton where many poverty-stricken people access services is aimed at bringing comfort to people and celebrating women, according to the artist behind the creation.

“In my culture, women are very powerful and… we hold the gift of life,” Tristen Jenni Sanderson told Global News on Wednesday.

“I was hoping for it to represent the connection of all women — it doesn’t matter where you come from or your background — that we’re all connected… the Earth connects us all.”

Sanderson said she completed the work — located in the Boyle Street Community Services centre’s garden — over the course of about three weeks. She said the piece took her about 30 hours in total, and that cold and windy weather made her work difficult at times, though she had help from members of her family.

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“I’m hoping that it captures attention and that people ask questions about it,” Sanderson said.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Ice District Properties creates new outdoor space for Boyle Street Community Services 

The mural features several portraits of women, including one of a dancer, surrounded by a background depicting the sun’s rays.

“I chose the colours so it would be bright,” Sanderson said. “I was hoping to bring warmth.

“The women are women that are volunteers at the community centre here at Boyle Street — or they use the services that they provide here — and the dancer is actually my younger sister.

“I wanted to show that young and old, we’re all one… we’re all connected — how we behave to one another… It’s community. We’re all community.”

READ MORE: Alberta artist’s paintings of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women help families heal

Sanderson said each portrait aims to show each of the different women’s stories and serve to remind people that “we all have our own stories.”

“I was hoping to portray… our women were our land protecters and our keepers… and our lifegivers, and I wanted to show that… strength in Indigenous women,” she explained.

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“We’re still here and we’re still strong.”

Tristen Jenni Sanderson stands in front of the large mural she created at the Boyle Street Community Services centre in downtown Edmonton.
Tristen Jenni Sanderson stands in front of the large mural she created at the Boyle Street Community Services centre in downtown Edmonton. Morris Gamblin/Global News

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