397 Oliver St, Williams Lake, BC V2G 1N3, Canada
397 Oliver Street Williams Lake British Columbia V2G 1M4 CA
Artists: Brittany Murphy, Jazmyn Lyons, Mandee Beaulieu, Tiffany Jorgensen and Sarah Sigurdson – 2020
Funded by: Downtown Williams Lake BIA, Williams Lake Indian Band & Williams Lake & District Credit Union
The Cariboo has been through so many unprecedented events in the last few years: the fires, the floods, and the pandemic. Our grit, resilience, and strong community spirit should be celebrated and remembered. To commemorate the events, we proposed to paint a burned forest. Amongst the tall dark trees there is a small green tree growing – and almost glowing – representing hope and new life. Throughout the trees and high into the sky, there are flying whales representing how we rose up as a community and thought outside the box, discovering new ways to thrive and still hold on to who we are. The whales are all different species to show our diverse population.
Above and throughout the whales are floating balloons. They can represent lots of things for lots of people. Fears floating away, the floods in 150 Mile House, maybe relief for the fires below. The entire mural is backed by a sunrise representative of a new day and, again, hope.
As strong as our community is, we all share some trauma from the events. Our hope is that people can pull something meaningful from it for themselves as we continue to heal and move forward together – knowing we can handle anything.
“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life.” – Nina Simone
A note from Downtown Williams Lake and the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society: Did you know that Cariboo trees help feed the whales? It’s true! The endangered southern resident orca diet consists almost exclusively of salmon, so healthy spawning runs are critical to their survival. To reproduce, salmon make the long, one-way trip upstream where they will spawn, die, and decompose, releasing things like phosphorus and nitrogen from their bodies into the rivers – nutrients collected during their time feeding in the ocean. These nutrients are absorbed by shoreline trees allowing them to grow and thrive. In return, their leaves, branches, roots, and fallen logs provide the shade, shelter, and food the young salmon need to thrive. This next generation of salmon then return to the ocean where they will become food for the orcas. These saltwater and freshwater ecosystems need each other, and the salmon make it happen.
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