Phil Alain, Lewis Lavoie and Paul Lavoie have worked on some big projects. But their latest will be their biggest ever, stretching from sea to sea to sea.
The team behind Mural Mosaic – which is based in Sturgeon County, just north of St.Albert – is hard at work on their new Canada 150 Mosaic, visiting communities across Canada and getting painters to contribute to a massive mural celebrating our nation’s 150th birthday in 2017.
“It’s extremely daunting,” Alain says. “Basically, we’ve been working on this idea for 10 years; we’ve always had this vision of uniting Canada for a very special anniversary.”
A Mural Mosaic is made up of hundreds of smaller paintings. Individual painters have some lines and a general colour scheme to follow on their tiles, but otherwise have free rein to paint what they want. When put together, though, the tiles form one cohesive image.
Mural Mosaics have been created in communities across North America, and for big events like the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the centennial celebrations for Mount Royal University in Calgary and the recent NBA All-Star Game in Toronto.
But the Canada 150 Mosaic is something else. Each community will create its own mural consisting of 400 to 750 tiles, and then those separate murals – each featuring a train car – are designed to come together to form one gigantic piece of art that could stretch over more than four football fields.
Of course, it’s unlikely that the murals will ever physically come together as one, but Alain plans to link them all together on the Canada 150 Mosaic website. He also says there’s a possibility of reproducing the murals in a smaller form.
“The communities, once they complete it, they own their mural and they’re part of the Canada 150 project, and they’ll hang their mural proudly in their community,” he says. “But we’ll connect them all online, and we’ll build some type of replica near the end to celebrate the whole process.”
Murals will be created in five to 15 communities in each province and territory. So far, Alain says, the response has been great.
“The communities have no trouble getting people to paint,” he says, adding that some high-profile Canadians have already lended their artistic skills to the project, including singers Jann Arden and Sarah McLachlan, and television personality Rick Mercer.
The first mural was created in St. Albert in March 2015, and the team hopes it will all be wrapped up by Canada Day 2017.
“The excitement’s going to build; really we’re just starting. … There’s a lot of work ahead,” Alain says.