A recent mural project called Radius is based on the cultural links and connectivity of three distinct cultures in Vancouver: Aboriginal, Chinese and Japanese. The convergence of these groups is portrayed in a woven design with symbols, narratives and text from each culture.
A large wave is a unifying element, suggesting constancy and adaptability. Four paddles of Salish design, symbolizing the four directions, contain images of Salish Serpents, and other glyph forms. The top of the largest paddle is on flames, alluding to the great fire of Vancouver in 1886, an event that left many from the early city trapped on the shores of Burrard Inlet as the city burned to the ground. Indians of the Coast Salish Squamish arrived in their dugout canoes to help rescue people, sheltering them in their nearby village church. The poem that was sung as they paddled the inlet is inscribed on the bow of the canoe. The movement of the paddles is echoed in vertical bamboo along the left side, superimposed with the character meaning 'Harmony'. The Chinese banner on the left side reads 'Bright Mountain, Clear Waters', and on the right, in Japanese, 'Hometown', as Vancouver was and still is, popularly known. Japanese cherry blossoms (Sakura) represent the strong links with tradition, as well as the gesture of peace post-war, between Japan and Canada. At the upper right, a Japanese Obi, a kimono sash, takes on the form of mountains.
The mural was conceived with input from each of the three communities, with input being incorporated into the final design. Artists worked with mentored youth on the painting of the mural, that was completed throughout the month of July, 2013. An unveiling ceremony will take place in September 2013.
Artists: Jerry Whitehead, June Yun and Eri Ishii, with mentored artists Marissa Nahanee, Christine Cheng and Mayuka Hisata. Coordination by Richard Tetrault and Esther Rausenberg (Creative Cultural Collaborations Society) The project was supported with funds from the City of Vancouver. Thanks also to the Firehall Arts Centre for providing the venue and staff support.