Vancouver, BC

Empowering youth to express their voices and engage in society through art.

As part of her Artist Residency with Non-for-profit organization ArtQuake Society, Nur created and facilitated a mural project for youth. Nur designed the workshop content and coordinated all aspects of the project, from logistics to hands-on teaching of painting techniques. 

More about the project below.

About ArtQuake: 

ArtQuake is a local youth driven organization based in Vancouver, B.C. that envisions a transformed world where every youth is a vehicle for change, fuelled by their own creative expression. We empower youth to use their artistic skills to create social change in their communities. We believe in the power of expression and strive to find innovative ways to bridge art with community.”

Why Democracy?

“Democracy is a pressing and timely issue for all Canadians in the year 2015 as we await a federal election. The organizers at ArtQuake (themselves youth) believe that young people have something important to say about the socio-political future of our communities. Thus, the Democracy Arts Project will create a variety of creative spaces, both physical and virtual, for young people to take back the mic on what democracy means for them and how youth envision the future of the democracy we live in.”

Words from the youth on the meaning of the murals:

The mural [Together] speaks to the immense diversity and strength present in the communities of the painters, and that of the city as a whole. With the demographics spreading from all corners of the Earth, from Indigenous, to immigrant, from citizen, to undocumented. We as the people represented by Canada’s so-called ‘democracy’ are the inherent determinates of our future, through our community’s strength and action. Instead of distant politicians making decisions about our land and people without any actual living experience to provide context to our existence. The mural [Together] is about change, and how much growth can be attained from the smallest actions made at the grassroots level. It is about our realities as a community, one that has to continuously come together to survive and protect our quality of life. To create homes for those who do not have the luxury of having one, to create jobs to those who are excluded from the employment market, and to uplift those of us who need uplifting. This mural [Together] is the culmination of our mind’s bringing together what we see in our communities, and what they need. With that being anything from fresh, accessible food to provide us with sustenance. Or places where we as youth, and people of all ages and accessibility needs can come together. The mural [Together] is about how our communities thrive, and how we all survive together, intertwined, and mutually beneficial.
The mural [Phoenix Rising] takes a different tone than [Together]. This one [Phoenix Rising], being about the destruction and resurgence of taking place in our communities, as opposed to the already existing unity of them. The mural [Phoenix Rising] depicts the destroyed landscape and the results of violence against the land and people. With desolate landscapes and skies clouded with grey representing the uncertainty of our future, with the actions that have already taken place. While the transformation brought on with the phoenix shows our inherent hope. The hope being that we, as a people, can withstand the onslaught of disaster and the pollution dumped on our lives. With chemical fires, and surveillance laws that are beginning to choke our freedom and air with an uncertain air. We have to look to our future, and our democracy in extension, as something that we can determine. It (democracy) is something that requires hard work, and community action to bring about properly. Whether that is through a lit spark, like the reviving of a phoenix after a long rest; or the gradual resurgence like the tree of life sprouting above is to be determined. All that can be however, is that we are the ones who choose our future and how it plays out is up to us. 

The Process