A new mural in Lantzville aims to bring two communities together.
On Nov. 6 a celebration was held to honour a mural painted this summer by VIU visual art student Grace Edwards of Snaw-naw-as First Nation. The work, located on the parking lot retaining wall at Lantzville Plaza, depicts four ethereal figures in a boat on Nanoose Bay with the sun on the horizon. Edwards said the work is inspired by traditional Coast Salish designs.
“I really wanted to tap into the spiritual aspect of the land,” she said. “Nanoose Bay is a very sacred spot for my family. My people have lived here for many, many years and so I really wanted to put that here in Lantzville because that’s such a special place for us.”
Edwards said the mural can help break down the “invisible wall” between Lantzville and Snaw-naw-as, a notion shared by the speakers at the Nov. 6. event. Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, Snaw-naw-as councillor Tom Bob and Neil Valsangkar from Lantzville’s economic development and sustainability committee all agreed the mural will serve to strengthen the relationship between their communities, with Swain describing it as “a real symbol of what’s yet to come.”
This is Edwards’s second and largest mural project after painting a pair of outdoor wooden panels on the theme of truth and reconciliation at her alma mater, Dover Bay Secondary School. It took her two weeks to complete, including periods of smoke and rain, and while there was “a lot of trial and error,” she’s satisfied with the result.
“It’s exceeded my expectations as an artist,” she said. “I mean, although I love it and it’s amazing, as an artist I always critique myself and I do see little imperfections. But thankfully no one else does.”
Occasionally acquaintances and strangers alike stopped by to watch Edwards at work. She said for the first week “it was odd to have random people just appear” but it made her feel welcome. In her remarks to the crowd, Edwards thanked both the Lantzville and Snaw-naw-as communities.
“It was encouraging to me that people were really becoming connected to this mural even though it wasn’t done yet, but I met amazing people,” she said. “It was amazing. I had the best time of my life doing this. Just two weeks but it meant so much to me.”
The mural is located at 7217 Lantzville Rd.