This project is part of I HeART Main Street, a program supporting Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) with the support they need to activate their main streets through public art and placemaking. This program engages BIAs, local artists and businesses across Ontario to create more vibrant and safe communities.
Project Type: Permanent Exhibit
Artist: Joseph Sagaj
Storyteller: Jacque Lavallee
Audio Artist: Saroja Ponnambalam
Artist Statement: The mural is a glimpse into the abundance of legends, myths, and knowledge of Indigenous worldview, culture, and ancient stories. The title “Interconnection” implies a connection, how we relate to each other and to our surrounding environment.
Sound Attributions: Credits for Creative Commons Licensed Sounds
From darkness, light are stars that emerged in the beginning of creation. The fires, the earth, the air, and the water, are vital sources for all living creations in the plant-life, for the earth-crawlers, the winged-ones, and the four-legged. All human races are one from that one source of light.
In some First Nations stories, the Muskrat brings a handful of earth to Sky Woman for creation of Turtle Island; the Turtle’s oval-shaped shell has 28 plates on its outer circular order and 13 in its interior to serve as a natural cycle of Grandmother Moon; the Spirit Bear emerges from the waters, walks onto earth, and shakes its strands of hair to disperse water carrying medicines; Sky Woman plants a seed on the Turtle’s back.
Nanaboozhoo walks the world with Wolf naming all things on Mother Earth. Animals and birds are Clans and are representatives that serve with roles and responsibilities; they also extend into the System of Governance.
The Muskrat is a very important figure in many Creation Stories; Muskrat is responsible for providing earth to Sky Woman and bringing forth life. Sturgeons are as ancient as dinosaurs; they still exist despite our poisoning their territories. Water life in all forms and ways are our responsibility.
In the Spring, the Thunderbird-Beings awaken the Earth with flashes of lightning and the echoes of their thunderclaps; Medicine Snakes and other Earth-dwellers, like the legend of the Two-horned Serpent, arrive above the earth bringing their medicines and purpose.
A dragonfly, a bee, a butterfly, and a hummingbird are some of the living creatures that carry pollens and seeds for the earth to flourish in flowers, plants, and fruit throughout the world. Trees too are there reaching out from root to branch to the infinite sky. Its leaves filter the air we breathe. The bear’s cubs and our children are future generations that need to co-exist.
All women are sacred, they pray with water, at times they speak for it; they carry us with it to this world. Yes, our stories are alike, but at times, not in a way of brutal slayings of women. We pay respect to all women.
The candle pays homage to the missing and murdered women, the unmarked graves of the Residential School children, and those affected.
One species of the Woodpecker, according to Science claims to be extinct. Sometimes, to the Indigenous worldview, they only appear to disappear for reason.
We pass on our ways of respect to the environment. In the Rice Harvest of the Anishnaabe, our ancestors guide us, we our share our ways to the next generation by offering tobacco, by expression of song, and thanksgiving.
In this mural painting, insectivorous birds reflected in water, dart, glide, and dive, for insects and feed. Others are omnivores that eat the earth-crawlers for protein while others eat fish. All for the good of sustenance; the Creator made it so.
The Crescent and Eclipses hold many stories among many nations. The Hawk-Spirits, in this Artist’s rendering, are shown to travel by way of the Crescent, like the Boy that travelled to the Spirit World to visit the Seven Grandfathers for Teachings.
The Star’s formations lend themselves to an array of stories worldwide. Our stories are of signals above telling us of the time relevance of migrations and ceremonies. In these lands, we tell our history in our Sacred Scrolls, in Rock Formations, Woodhenges, and Stonehenge’s aligned to the stars and the infinite universe. Like the Inuit, it is also of portals that connect us to the spiritual realms.
All are interconnected to the earth, its creations, the universe, above us, beneath us, around us, as well as within us.
About the BIA: Located in the heart of the Annex, Bloor Annex BIA is strives to enhance public space and build community within our neighbourhood. It exists to maintain and promote the business community on Bloor Street (between Madison Avenue and Bathurst Street) as a vital part of the City of Toronto within a caring neighbourhood.
Thank you to our additional supporters!
I HeART Main Street, presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and ShowLoveTO produced by the City of Toronto, is generously supported by the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funded by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, funding provided by the Government of Ontario.
Listen to these wonderful audio stories that describe the different aspects and deep significance of the mural!