Mural painting coming to KPU Surrey library
The red wall in the library atrium is being transformed into a mural by a team of three artists
Kwantlen Polytechnic University English instructor Greg Chan is coordinating with artist-in-residence Brandon Gabriel and his artistic team to paint a mural on the red wall in the Surrey library atrium.
The team started painting the mural in the first-floor lounge in the Arbutus building at the Surrey campus on Feb. 15 to 17, Feb. 23 to 28, and will finish from March 1 to 3. The mural aims to represent KPU’s Indigenous history, cultural diversity, inclusivity, and unity as a community.
Chilean studio painter and Oakland artist Pancho Pescador and aerosol artist Desi Mundo will paint the mural alongside Gabriel. The three artists formed a partnership after their appearance on the “Alice Street” panel at KDocsFF last year.
“The mural is meant to represent the KPU community. So, that’s what Desi and Pancho specialize in, their murals are all about cultural diversity, inclusivity and social justice. That’s perfect for KDocs. it’s perfect for KPU,” Chan says.
The seven and a half metre mural will be revealed by early March. The Coast Salish background for the mural will be painted by Gabriel, and Pescador and Mundo will paint two to five figures with layered effects over the background.
“In the KPU community, we are much more dedicated to and aware of BIPOC communities, social justice, and Indigenous sovereignty. So, it’s just such perfect timing to have the artists make this offer. And the other big reason is we have almost no public art on campus,” Chan says.
Chan adds that it’s important to have art on campus that represents the students, faculty, and staff at KPU. The mural honours the cultural diversity of the university and unites the community.
Due to cold weather conditions and challenges with drying the panel, an indoor location had to be chosen to paint the mural. Todd Mundle, university librarian, offered up the space in the library.
“The big vertical orientation of the work will mean that whatever we paint will have to be sweeping and be visually appealing because we know that the audience will always look at the piece every day,” Gabriel says.
The mural will have elements of Coast Salish design motifs, graffiti style, and figurative paintings. As a past KPU student, Gabriel remembers the artistic and architectural features he saw as he walked into the library back when it initially opened in 2007.
“I always remember thinking to myself how cool it would be to be an artist to work on such a powerful art piece on such a grand scale at that location. And now I have my opportunity all these years later,” Gabriel says.
Gabriel also says the project will require them to put their best artistic effort into painting the mural because of the short span of time.
Members of the KPU community are invited to watch the artists as they paint the mural. The team of three artists along with Vancouver based artist, Richard Tetrault, will also paint a mural on the Bruce Erikson building at Main St. and Hastings St. in the Downtown Eastside for the Vancouver Mural Festival.