Iconic native mural blocked by Calgary development brick wall draws fire

A native mural on Calgary’s 17th Avenue has been covered by a new development – something the artist behind says is disappointing, especially since he was not consulted or informed.

A brick wall recently went up over most of the mural created in 2018 by Kalum Teke Dan, and it happened the same week that Canada marked its National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

He says he spent seven days painting the mural for the Beltline Urban Murals Project (BUMP), and it’s his favorite work.

Called Sunset song, Dan says the artwork represents moving forward and rebuilding.

Kalum Teke Dan’s mural from 2018 is covered by a new development on 17th Avenue. (Terri Trembath / CBC)

“It’s definitely a bad timing, that it’s a big time for truth and reconciliation, and for this to happen at this point,” Dan said.

“I already get a lot of calls from not just people in the neighborhood, but people everywhere say they’m pretty bored,” he added.

Dexter Bruneau, BUMP’s CEO, says the organization has an understanding that painting murals on walls is in itself temporary.

“That said, it’s obviously disappointing to see such a beautiful and iconic mural be one of the first to be covered this way,” he said.

BUMP plans to collaborate with Dan on an opportunity to recreate the mural on a new building next year.

“I think there could have been more consideration here especially in this sensitive time. I think it’s insensitive. I think it’s rude,” said Theodora Warrior of Piikani Nation, who says she loved the mural.

“It’s pride. It’s power. It’s such a respectful work of art. Such an image of who we are inside and how beautiful we are. It captured everything. I love walking down this street and seeing it with my kids. , share it and be proud to see it there. ”

Theodora Warrior said she liked looking at the mural with her children. (Terri Trembath / CBC)

City says work temporarily stopped

A spokesman for a city in Calgary said murals are not protected from construction on adjacent sites, which comes after the city approved a development permit for the landowner next to the location of the mural.

“There is currently a temporary stop work announcement at this site and an investigation is underway. Once completed, construction can continue as planned,” the spokesman said.

“The timing of construction on the neighboring package … is truly unfortunate after National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. It is a reminder of the importance of native works of art in Calgary.”

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