Students with the district’s Wraparound Program are painting a 150-foot mural to give voice to marginalized groups and promote a sense of community in Surrey. (Photo by Gurjot Singh)

Anti-racism

Surrey students paint mural, paying homage to First Nations, at SkyTrain station

Artwork to showcase ‘positivity and racial inclusivity in the city’

Surrey students have been painting a mural near King George SkyTrain station this week.

The 150-foot mural is meant to “showcase positivity and racial inclusivity in the city,” according to a release from the Surrey school district.

The project is a partnership with the Wraparound Program, First Nations Policing, Ledcor and local artist Chris Perez, says the district, adding that it will provide young artists with “an opportunity to display their talent and messaging to passers-by to promote a sense of community.”

The mural will pay homage to the Semiahmoo, Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations, “using colours from the medicine wheel” and under the leadership of Constable Troy Derrick of the Gitxsan First Nation.

“We want to give our students a chance to feel that sense of belonging to their school or community, while exploring their strengths and interests,” said Surrey Schools social worker Jon Ross.

“We picked youth that have an interest in art, that were needing a little more structure and opportunity in their summer, and were just keen to be a part of something that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Ross added the project is coming during a time when people are “trying to recognize the systemic barriers of discrimination towards Indigenous Peoples, the Black community and people of colour.”

“Most of these youth have experienced that in different ways, so this is a positive outlet to give their voice some kind of permanence and to feel like they’ve been heard and they belong.”

Ten Surrey students will be working on the mural.

It will be made up of pieces of plywood against a chainlink fence, bordering a condo development at the King George SkyTrain station walkup, at Whalley Ring Road and 98th Avenue.

The project, according to the district, is an initiative of the Wraparound Program, which is a partnership between the district, RCMP and City of Surrey.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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