Anishnaabe multidisciplinary artist Que Rock has created a temporary mural on the University of Toronto Daniels Faculty north façade to honour the 215 children found at a residential school in Kamloops, BC, and the unmarked graves that continue to be found across Turtle Island.
The work depicts a sun on its left, representing the Seven Grandfather Teachings of humility, courage, honesty, wisdom, truth, respect and love, while its right features Grandmother Moon, representing the connection to Turtle Island, the water nation and Mother Earth. At the mural’s centre, children are carried by eagles to the spirit world; the eagles carry fish for the healing journey.
The Daniels Mural Project’s goal is “a visual healing experience.” Que’s large-scale art projects include murals with StreetARToronto (StART), a visual land acknowledgment at the St. Lawrence Centre of Arts, and a medicine wheel-inspired work for the Toronto Transit Commission’s Ride Guide.
The Daniels Mural Project is part of U of T’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, ‘Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin’, specifically to Call to Action number 2, a strategy for the funding and placement of more Indigenous public art across all three campuses in close consultation with local Indigenous communities. It will be produced in partnership with the University of Toronto Post-Secondary Fund for Aboriginal Learners.
Proposals were received from an open call issued by the Daniels Faculty with the Daniels Art Directive, a student-led art collective, and Elder Whabagoon, the First Peoples Leadership Advisor to the Dean.
The submissions were reviewed by the Advisory Panel of Indigenous U of T community members: James Bird, Melissa Deleary, Jaime Kearns, Robin Rice, and Brenda Wastasecoot.
Installed in November 2021 into 2022, visible day and night, the mural encourages community members to engage with the land’s history and Indigenous teachings.