The Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF) is creating a project to paint a picture of systemic racism against Black people in the city and they’re looking for hands to hold the brushes.
The announcement of this new project comes as VMF was recently awarded a BC Heritage Award for ‘Hope Through Ashes: A Requiem for Hogan’s Alley’, a mural project highlighting the history of Hogan’s Alley and Vancouver’s Black community. The mural was created by Anthony Joseph for the Vancouver Mural Festival last year and is located on the north face of the Georgia Viaduct.
The mural aimed to highlight Hogan’s Alley and reclaim the space by projecting a historical narrative of the black community’s presence in Vancouver a recent press release explains. This includes chronological storytelling of the black community’s emergence, as well as the story of the neighbourhood’s displacement.
“Hogan’s Alley embodied hope for a thriving united Black community in BC,” reads Anthony Joseph’s artist statement for the mural. “In destroying Hogan’s Alley, the city of Vancouver destroyed a Black community but not Black culture as it continues to flourish in a diaspora within Vancouver’s cultural fabric.”
“In painting a mural about Hogan’s Alley on the Georgia Viaduct, I am adding art to the very instrument that led to the destruction of Vancouver’s first concentrated Black community,” Joseph continues.
The mural was part of VMF’s 2020 series “Celebrating Black Resurgence,” which included three other murals by local black artists along with a corresponding artist talk during the festival.
Now the VMF has announced their next project tackling systemic racism faced by Vancouver’s first residents called the Black Strathcona Resurgence Project (BSRP). The project comes with the goal of “reclaiming visibility and reconciling the erasure and systemic racism endured over time by Black people in Vancouver.”
The multi-year project will be a featured part of this year's mural festival taking place August 4-22 with over 40 new murals in more than 10 neighbourhoods across the city, plus in-person and online performances, tours, talks and workshops.
To create the BSRP the Vancouver Mural Festival is partnering with local black artists, curators, businesses and communities to centre on black storytelling through the murals. The project’s manager is Krystal Paraboo who also brought the Hogan’s Alley mural into fruition.
Applications for Black Strathcona Resurgence Project mural artists and curator are open until April 30. More details can be found on VMF’s website.