Toronto, Ontario: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 — A new mural is being conceived for Roncesvalles Village by Philip Cote and Jim Thierry Bravo, two local artists with an extensive and proven record of executing public art. The artist collaboration has started and the mural will be completed this summer, thanks to funding through the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program and the Roncesvalles Village BIA.
The work and thinking of these two artists resonates with the central themes put forward by the RVBIA’s Street Art Advisory Committee, namely: Nature in the City, Urban Community and Legacy.
“Many think “legacy” refers only to the man-made things that have survived from the past. But we should ask ourselves: what about the knowledge and wisdom that has been handed down from the Indigenous peoples as well as the settlers? And, what do we want to leave for future generations? What knowledge, values and resources can we pass on to support a sustainable future?” says RVBIA Chair, Len McAuley.
“The Seven Fires Prophecy of the Anishnaabe- Ojibwe people encourages the union of all peoples of the human race to ensure a kinship that will lead to peace and harmony. The prophecy warns that without a union of the earth’s people the earth will cleanse itself,” explains Phil Cote. As an Indigenous artist, the purpose of Cote’s research and art is to unearth and reveal, his cultural experience and knowledge of signs of Indigenous symbols, language and interpretation. A graduate of OCAD University’s Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design in 2015, Cote creates opportunities of teaching methodologies on Indigenous symbolism, language, knowledge, and history. Cote has produced many commissioned works in Toronto. His most recent mural The Treaty of Niagara, was unveiled in August 2017 at the entrance to the Chapel Royal in Massey College.
Jim Thierry Bravo was born in Ecuador, South America, and has lived in the Parkdale – High Park area for the better part of the last 30 years. Bravo is a graduate of The Ontario College of Art and Design University, the institution where he majored in Drawing and Painting and where he completed his thesis on Murals and Monumental Public Art. He has subsequently been awarded numerous public and private commissions and has amassed an extensive portfolio as lead artist on various notable large scale community site-specific projects throughout the GTA.
The artists will consult with the community with respect to values and local elements that reflect the themes, and to gather responses to some of their proposed concepts. Having lived on or near Roncesvalles Avenue, both artists know the neighbourhood well. Consultations will be done in person and online, with the final one to be held on June 9th during Roncy Rocks, the local music and arts festival. It will be held at the site of the future mural at Garden and Roncesvalles Avenues. The work will start a week later with the involvement of two youth apprentices.
“The theme of sustainability and future thinking can be challenging to illustrate. Some artists will tend towards science fiction and utopias,” reflects RVBIA board member Adam Langley who serves on the BIA’s Street Art Advisory Committee. “Whereas Cote will bring to this his knowledge of Indigenous stewardship principles rooted in the Seven Fires Prophecy and its interpretation, which still has great significance to this time in our collective history.” The symbolism invites questioning and discussion. “Bravo’s aptitude for capturing the spirit and dynamics of a community is reflected in the depth and sensitivity of his work. His style adapts to the context, emphasizes another Advisory Committee Member and founder of Back Lane Studios, Ellen Moorhouse. “We plan to provide visual and audio resources for those who are interested in learning more.”
Philip Cote’s works and CV can be viewed online at www.tecumsehcollective.
Jim Thierry Bravo’s works and CV can be viewed online at www.JimBravopaintings.weebly.
The Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) exists to improve business conditions for its members on Roncesvalles Avenue through street beautification, property maintenance, and marketing and promotions. Members include over 270 businesses along Roncesvalles, as well as commercial property owners. Under the purview of marketing, the RVBIA focuses primarily on two major cultural events: the Roncesvalles Polish Festival held in September that attracts upwards of 300,000 visitors in a weekend, and a smaller event in June called Roncy Rocks whose major component is a local music and arts festival that draws 10,000 people. Visit https://roncesvallesvillage.ca