World renowned Los Angeles artist, educator, activist and community arts pioneer Judy Baca brings her vision for public art to OCAD U for a March 14 lecture presented by the Faculty of Arts, while OCAD U alumni Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson campaign to facilitate mural painting in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. All three artists are engaged in large-scale, collaborative multi-artist projects centred around recording memories and telling the stories of communities.
Judy Baca’s political landscapes
“I hope to use public space to create public voice, and consciousness about the presence of people who are often the majority of the population but who may not be represented in any visual way.” Judy Baca
Judy Baca with one of her murals. Image courtesy Judy Baca. Baca is a Chicana muralist who teaches at the University of California. In 1974 she founded the first City of Los Angeles Mural Program, a community arts organization that evolved into the Social and Public Art Resource Centre (SPARC). As artistic director of SPARC, Baca’s focus is on giving voice to historically disenfranchised groups and preserving their stories.
One of her most cherished projects, for which she served as director, is The Great Wall of Los Angeles, a multicultural history “tattooed” along a flood control channel in the San Fernando Valley. It’s one of the longest murals in the world. She is also inspired by the land, believing there’s an intelligence to living and growing things and to the earth that nurtured them. “I have always known the value of art as a tool for transformation both personal and political” she said. “What I have had to learn through being attentive to my own curiosities and artistic focus, is that I choose often to use land as my method of recording memories and stories in my paintings and drawings.”
Baca’s talk at OCAD U is a co-presentation by Latin American Canadian Art Projects, Community Arts Practice (CAP) at York University and OCAD U’s Faculty of Art.
Alumni help spark imaginations in the north
Patrick Thompson and Gootileak Echo paint a mural in Iqaluit. Image courtesy Cape Dorset Mural Project OCAD U alumni Alexa Hatanaka (Printmaking) and Patrick Thompson (Drawing & Painting) are getting ready to fly to Cape Dorset, Nunavut where they were invited to paint a large outdoor mural on the hamlet’s co-op building, collaborate with local artists and facilitate youth workshops. The artists have been collaborating together on murals and youth workshops in fly-in Canadian arctic communities for four years (though Thompson has been involved in such projects for ten years).
Hatanaka and Thompson will be working on the project in Cape Dorset from April 16 until the end of June, helping to collaborate on a colourful mural for a busy, northern centre that’s cold and dark for many months of the year. One of their youth workshops will delve into contemporary mural art practices and techniques while another will culminate in the painting of wildlife-proof garbage bins throughout the community.
Their project is partially funded with support from the Ontario Arts Council and First Air, with accommodation by the Kinngait Lithography studio apartment, but the couple is also seeking Indigogo funding for materials, cargo shipment and artist honourariums.
Join the conversation:
Share your favourite mural on OCAD U’s Facebook page
Attend Judy Baca’s lecture
Cape Dorset Mural Project