THUNDER BAY – NEWS – The City of Thunder Bay, along with local Indigenous artists, are excited to launch the City’s new Maamawe Art Bus created by five local Indigenous youth artists. Residents are invited to attend the unveiling event at the Transit Terminal Main Depot, 570 Fort William Road, at 1pm on Monday, Feb. 28. (Masks and social distancing are required.) The event will honour Indigenous heritage in Thunder Bay and celebrate the beauty of Indigenous culture expressed through colour and design on the exterior of the bus.
Guided by the City of Thunder Bay’s Anishinaabe Elders Council, in partnership with the Youth Inclusion Program, Cultural Development & Public Art Committee, and Indigenous Relations Office, the Maamawe Art Bus project was facilitated by local Indigenous artists Shelby Gagnon and Morningstar Derosier. The Public Art piece was developed through multiple engagement sessions led by lead artists Gagnon and Derosier alongside five local youth artists, Jacenia Desmoulin, Eva McKenzie, Lak Williams, Sage Laliberte, and Athena Hudson. The final concept of the work installed on the City Transit Bus was completed through the guidance of the lead artists with the help of graphic artist Chelsea Bourget of Earth & Sky Studio.
“Being able to work on this project from conceptualization to completion has been incredible,” said Morningstar Derosier. “We’ve built relationships with each other, and explored our relationships to the land and this city. The conversations that came from the workshops were both creative and healing. We hope the community feels this as well.”
“Our main focus for this project was healing and reconciliation,” said Louisa Costanzo, Supervisor Cultural Development & Events. “The goal was to create a safe space to unify and empower Indigenous youth while also creating an art piece that would embody the creativity of the youth, expressing both healing and celebration of Indigenous culture.”
The bus is intended to highlight Indigenous connection to the land and the years of contributions of First Peoples, as well as represent the healing process of our community from a different perspective.
“Our journey together towards reconciliation is a process,” said Tanis Thompson, Manager Indigenous Relations. “We are all a work in progress and each of us are in different stages of that process. I hope this will be the first of many more steps forward that are needed as we continue to progress in the spirit of reconciliation “maamawe” all together.”