New Bloor Annex BIA Mural at Paul Martel Park

Image courtesy of Joseph Sagaj

The Bloor Annex BIA is pleased to announce the completion of a new mural at Paul Martel Park at 10 Madison Ave. This mural was made possible thanks to a City of Toronto Outdoor Mural and Street Art Grant. 

The mural was conceived and created by 2021 Toronto Arts Foundation Indigenous Artist Award finalist Joseph Sagaj with contributions from artists Denise Aquash, Sonja Clarke, Larry M. Holder, and Mike Rowade aka Ron Wild. Sagaj also consulted with and sought the support of Elder and Knowledge Keeper Jacque Lavallee aka Jacqui Lavalley, Grandmother Donalda Ashkewe aka Winnie Ashkewe, Innu Consultant Naulaq LeDrew, and the AKIWIIDOOKAAGEWIN (Earth Helpers).

Artist Joseph Sagaj with an almost complete section.

The brick wall mural is 86 feet x 5 feet, painted in mixed media and water from Upper Lake in the Mountains above Lake Louise, Alberta, and from a lake in Algonquin Park, Ontario – smudged, prayed to, thanked, and offered tobacco. 

Community artist Sonja Clarke with her contribution – the moon.

The BIA chose the theme to be “Indignous Storytelling” to honour the work that the Earth Helpers, a First Nations group, have been doing in Paul Martel to revitalize the park and ecology with the support of the BIA. The BIA was delighted that one of the Earth Helpers, local artist Joseph Sagaj, submitted a proposal. 

From Joseph Sagaj:

“People drop in randomly and generally I have conversations that vary with different people from First Nations, Ethnic Groups, Institutions, Faiths, etc. This mural does not necessarily have a specific and chronological narrative and it has encouraged conversations of stories, beliefs, world views, ecology, DNA, genome, science, environment, evolution, and Indigenous world views, etc., which was my intent. I also wanted to mix this artwork in different styles i.e. “curvism”, not cubism, abstract, colors, realism, symbolism, shape-shift of composition, neo-woodland-style art.

MIIGWETCH to the Spirits of our Ancestors, Spirit Helpers, Four Medicines, Friends and Family and those who expressed and showed support, encouragement, and inspiration throughout the project. I certainly didn’t do it alone!”

Joseph Sagaj with Elder and Knowledge Keeper Jacque Lavallee, aka Jacqui Lavalley, and Grandmother Donalda Ashkewe, aka Winnie Ashkewe