Home. It’s a word we use all the time and a luxury we often take for granted.
When your home is destroyed and you are forced to leave, where does home become?
For nearly 1,700 government-assisted Syrian refugees arriving since November, B.C. has become their new home. Many of these refugees are part of families that have settled right here in Metro Vancouver with almost half of them living in Surrey.
When the construction hoarding needed to be put up at Joyce–Collingwood Station for upgrade work, a mural project was created to expand and strengthen the sense of community of our region and it turned out to be a great opportunity to include the children of these affected families!
The imagery throughout the mural was created by neighbourhood kids through lively and fun workshops of brainstorming, drawing and painting, then transferred to the overall design by the lead artists, Kim Villagante  and Aly de la Cruz Yip.
It was the artists’ job to organize and arrange the variety of sketches and concepts they received during the workshops.
The concept of home, place and the natural environment were themes that came up a lot during their time with the kids, so the artists ran with that for the finalized piece.
It wasn’t just the youth involved who took something special away from this experience.
“In my experience as a community arts facilitator, I have walked away with memories of the conversations, discussions and the relationships that were built behind the scenes,” said Kim Villagante. “The symbol of the mural is powerful because it is a public and visual reminder on a wall of the community that exists behind it.”
Aly believes art can heal, support and nurture growth within communities and enjoys being a part of that process.
“Art is medicine. I have experienced firsthand the powerful role art can play in the processing of trauma and healing of communities,” said de la Cruz Yip. “I love being a grounding presence to youth; present, engaged and ready to step in with advice or encouragement whenever needed.”
You can look at some photos of the project below:
Be sure to see this wonderful, welcoming piece of community art in person outside the East stationhouse at Joyce–Collingwood Station.
Author: Adrienne Coling