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Local artists wanted for mural design

The Beauharnois IKEA distribution centre previously forged a connection with Kahnawake with a giveaway several weeks ago. File photo

Kahnawake artists will have an opportunity to show off some of their artistic talents and make their mark on the city of Beauharnois through a new contest that was recently announced.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) and Kanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center (KOR), in partnership with the IKEA Distribution Centre in Beauharnois, have invited Indigenous artists from Kahnawake to compete for the chance to design a mural that will be displayed at the entrance to the IKEA warehouse.

The mural will measure around 26 feet wide and eight feet high.

“It’s an opportunity for artists in Kahnawake to showcase their work and their inspiration by using their traditional culture,” said Scott Berwick, the manager of the arts and archives department at KOR.

Ikea Beauharnois previously collaborated with MCK and the Kateri Food Basket in late May, when they donated an overhaul of homeware, which was made available to community members at no cost at the Knights of Columbus.

“We at IKEA Canada care deeply about Indigenous Peoples and are resolute in our commitment to support Indigenous cultures and contribute to reconciliation with First Nation, Inuit, and Metis peoples,” said Annie Corriveau, a spokesperson for IKEA.

“It’s in our vision. It’s in our mandate. So, IKEAs throughout Canada try to partner with the Indigenous communities that are close to us, like Kahnawake.”

Corporations and organizations that are working towards reconciliation approach KOR to discuss opportunities or events that could highlight Indigenous artists in recognition of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.

Artists are encouraged to share their own ideas of what their culture means to them.

The mural contest launched on National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21 and is open to residents of Kahnawake of all ages. It should contain an image that represents the culture and heritage of the community of Kahnawake while being given a chance to express their creativity within their work.

The contest is open until Friday, July 26, giving artists time to brainstorm and execute their ideas in a sketch. The chosen design will be voted on by IKEA employees within the first two weeks of August.

The selected winner will be chosen and will be contacted to discuss details for a contract to paint or draw the mural in either late August or early September.

“We definitely look forward to continuing collaborating with Kahnawake in the future, whether that be through donations, artistic opportunities, or an opportunity to be educated,” said Corriveau. “It’s also good for our employees because they can become more educated about this part of Canada’s history. It’s really an IKEA Canada ideology that we need to partner with Indigenous people whenever we can.”

“I hope it presents an opportunity for other organizations and businesses to do similar things in terms of reaching out to local artists, Indigenous artists, to give them more opportunities to be able to showcase their work outside of their communities,” said Berwick.

“It’s a small step towards fixing a much larger issue,” said Berwick, speaking on the partnership with non-local cooperations and organizations, “but these are small steps towards what could eventually build a better future in terms of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.”

tyler@easterndoor.com

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