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Artwork on the right track  

MC Snow’s new mural was inaugurated at the CN headquarters in Montreal on Monday, May 6. Nanor Froundjian The Eastern Door

Within the past year, Kahnawa’kehró:non artist MC Snow has exhibited his sculptures on home turf and all the way in Paris, too. But for his latest project – possibly his biggest one to date – he tucked away the chisel and went back to paintbrushes.  

On Monday, Snow’s mural at the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) headquarters downtown was inaugurated, standing as a symbol of connectivity and togetherness.  

The five-panel mixed media mural – combining acrylic and oil paint, collage, oil pastel, and epoxy – depicts a map of Turtle Island with the main tracks of CN’s rail network traced in red throughout the continent, which span over 30,000 KM.  

But the artwork’s imagery goes beyond literal representation.  

“It’s also the arteries of Turtle Island, stretching from one direction to the other and how it unifies everybody on the continent, and how we all have this connection towards one another. And that’s why we’re strong. So, the idea is that to foster this connection with everybody, and to keep our tie strong, and to maintain that connection through respect.” 

The CN logo is replicated along the painting’s edges, with some placed scattered across the entire map as well, a design choice inspired by the use of appliqué on traditional garments.  

For Snow, the collaborative process for the artwork’s conception and production was anchored in the values also reflected in its message and imagery – “open communication and to build everything on the basis of trust.” 

The sentiment was also emphasized by Sedalia Kawennotas Fazio, who delivered the opening address. “The time has come for us to bring our minds together, so our minds become one,” said Fazio, an elder from Kahnawake.  

She also highlighted the importance of each person’s mindfulness towards the world around them.  

“Everything on Mother Earth does exactly what they were told to do. Everything except us for human beings. And our instructions were very simple: love, honor and respect one another. And give thanks for all of creation each and every day.” 

The mural is mounted on a slightly curved wall at the entrance of a corporate floor, lifting its greyness with a bright palette of blues and yellows.  

“I love everything about it,” said Olivier Chouc, senior vice-president and legal officer at CN. “I love the togetherness, the connectivity that comes with it, I love the light that it has,” he added. 

“It’s a reminder of the fact that we’re living, working on the land that is not ours to start with, that’s been entrusted to others, and the importance of trying to get better, trying to work towards a more inclusive world, a world where we make amends and correct the mistakes of the past,” Chouc said.  

He, along with the team at CN, were more than pleased with the artwork, which had been in the works since last year. 

“I think every time that we find an opportunity to express ourselves and to express our voice as a people, we need to take it,” said Snow, adding such instances don’t come around nearly as often as they should.  

His hope is for the mural to inspire reflection and a sense of responsibility towards one another. “It’s about respect and taking on those responsibilities and working forward in a good way,” said Snow.  

nanor.fr@gmail.com 

This article was originally published in print on May 10 in issue 33.19 of The Eastern Door.

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Nanor is a reporter and copy editor with The Eastern Door. She was previously the managing editor and creative director at The Link.

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Nanor is a reporter and copy editor with The Eastern Door. She was previously the managing editor and creative director at The Link.