Pickering Village ‘Gateway Mural’ unveiled

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Published June 16, 2022 at 9:04 am

A new mural in Pickering Village capturing the indigenous and natural history of the area was unveiled Wednesday.

The Town of Ajax, along with sponsors Signs of Life and Elexicon Energy and artists Jon Colwell (JonnyOneThree) and Jesse Watson were on hand for the presentation of the historic village’s new Gateway Mural.

“Being from the area and with most of my family still residing close by, it was an honour to be part of this project. Being asked to take part in this endeavor by Signs of Life was amazing; they do great work in the community and I am glad to be part of that,” said Colwell, an indigenous artist from Port Perry. “To work alongside Jesse was an honour as well, as I have been a fan of his work for many moons. The plan for the mural was to keep it simple and readable at a glance, all while still being a conversation piece with some history ingrained and some depth to it. I think we managed to pull it off and I am proud when I see the work we have created together.”

For his part Watson, who works for Mostly Letters, said it was an “absolute pleasure” to work with Colwell and the rest of the team to “capture the rich history of Pickering Village and distill it into a piece of art that, if the overwhelmingly positive feedback during the painting process is any barometer, will serve to materialize the community pride that is already so rightfully abundant in the area.”

In September 2021 Ajax Council and staff met to discuss opportunities for public art and placemaking opportunities in the Town and determined Pickering Village as the ideal location for the Gateway Mural.

Staff worked with Signs of Life Placemaking Mural Project, a local organization that supports the growth of healthy, happy communities across Durham Region by using art as a vehicle for civic participation and improving quality of life through non-partisan, regional-wide projects.

The result was the transformation of a plain wall located at Church Street and Kingston Road into a display of stunning bold colours that make up the Town’s natural history. Colwell’s beautifully painted landscape, complemented by the bold and colourful lettering of Jesse Watson of Mostly Letters, resulted in a stunning mural that is a welcome addition to the area.

The new mural will continue to act as a gateway to help outline the neighbourhood, engage future investment and welcome drivers and pedestrians into the area for years to come.

“We recognized that COVID has highlighted the need to ensure our outdoor spaces are welcoming and meaningful to the communities surrounding them, and we know that murals are a great way to do this,” said Mayor Shawn Collier. “Pickering Village is a special place in our community – one that ties heritage with opportunities for economic growth and tourism opportunities for the future.”

Elexicon Energy was honoured to be a partner in the project as well, with Elexicon CEO Indrani Butany-DeSouza declaring not only “showcases the beauty of indigenous art” but can also be a “starting place for conversation and action.”

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