The Ultimate in Artistic and Cultural Collaboration

2013 -mural-2SHERBROOKE: One of the most intriguing collaborative efforts that came out of the Canada Summer Games 2013 Sherbrooke was a 525 sq. ft mosaic mural. This collective project was created with the help of 111 artists, representative of the 13 provinces and territories participating in the Summer Games. At the official inauguration of this work of art, one final panel had been withheld as a kind of crowning glory –the scene of a Canadian soldier in a war-torn country reaching out to local children by kicking a soccer ball around with them – a touching addition indeed.

In addition to the incredible panels of artwork that had been created, the fact that each panel was created by individual artists in his or her own studio, without knowing the overall outcome of the mural seems inconceivable. Artists were sent a 16 inch x 16 inch panel on which to depict a sport of their choice. The panels creators were then mounted on the exterior wall of the building at 21 Wellington Street, in downtown Sherbrooke. It is amazing to see not only the outcome of these individual concepts as they are mounted together but also to see the 3D-like image of Sherbrooke athlete Marie-Éve Dugas (competed in 100 meter hurdles) magically emerge to the forefront of the mural.

This particular project was overseen by the talented team at Mural Mosaic, an Alberta company which specializes in the creation of collective mosaics and Sherbrooke`s own M.U.R.I.R.S, experts in the ‘art of illusion’ as witnessed in the more than 12 amazing frescos murals (open-air art gallery) that currently enhance the city’s overall tourist appeal. This mural proved to have a mobilizing effect not only for the local arts community but also for artists 2013 - Joe Fordfrom across the country, creating an original icon, a new attraction for this region, something for future generations to enjoy. This effort also gives these artists cross-Canada visibility and an opportunity to participate in an extraordinarily challenging project.

“This national mural honours all of the athletes who pushed their abilities to the limits throughout the Games,” emphasized Serge Malenfant, President and Founder of M.U.R.I.R.S., “The unique character of this mural stems from the freedom given to each of the participating artists. It is through their individual perception of sports in Canada that the creative emotion is conveyed.”

An appeal to submit their candidacies had been sent out to artists all over Canada; finalists were selected according to their professionalism, their place of residence and their interest in participating in such a project, a move that would result in an optimal variety of styles. The artists were basically kept in the dark as to the last tablet to be insertednature of the final image, even the nature of the images that would be appearing next to theirs. As a result, the artistry of the individual compositions could not be influenced in any way. 

The 16 x 16 inch panels were made of a polymer and aluminum composite material which had already been primed. Joe Ford (Sherbrooke, Quebec) described the panel that he received as having two diagonal black lines across a white background – which implied the direction that he was to create his image and the guideline to the hue of colours to be used. These guidelines in shading were important so that his images would blend into the creation of the overall and final image. All products used in creating this mural were recyclable, even to the panels being transported in cardboard, not plastic, boxes from the team who would assemble the final product to the artist and back again.

As Nicolas Trudel, one of the 30 on-site bloggers (teams of 2) who gave instantaneous, onsite reports 2013 - muralthroughout the Games, put it, “An incomparable event where the times and life seemed different. This event with its multiple facets became the highlight of my summer. I will try to find the words to pay tribute to the quality of the 2013 Canada Summer Games Sherbrooke. While it is true that ‘sports’ is the basis behind the Games, they offered so much more. Looking back on all the special moments that I witnessed, I can definitely confirm that sports journalism is something quite unique; it is not only reporting on the events themselves but the fact that you are sharing these experiences and emotions, both highs and lows, with the athletes.”

“On a personal note,” continued Trudel, “the Games were an opportunity for me to practice my English, a sort of hands-on immersion process. While it felt strange at the beginning of summer to be working so much in English, it proved to be a golden opportunity. Three months ago, I spoke slowly, trying to find the right words but today, I do not hesitate to use my English skills. I am sure that I am not the only one who was in this situation and that many others have also benefited from having the same opportunity. Personally, I want to thank my colleague and friend with whom I conversed and laughed with this summer in the language of Shakespeare”.