The Roncesvalles Village BIA has commissioned two artists renowned for their public art, Philip Cote and Jim Thierry Bravo, to design a mural for Roncesvalles Village. The project, funded by the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program and the Roncesvalles Village BIA, will add a contemporary piece to the murals on Roncesvalles Avenue for community members and visitors to enjoy.
The artists have begun to collaborate on the project and will produce a design that focuses on themes of Nature, Community and Stewardship in the area. To understand these themes, and how they are valued among Roncesvalles community members and visitors, the artists will gather thoughts and reflections through a SURVEY now available on the Roncesvalles website until May 21. They will present two to three design concepts to the Roncesvalles community on June 2 at the High Park Library and again at the Roncy Rocks Music and Arts Festival on June 9. After receiving final feedback about the design from the community, Cote and Bravo will begin producing the mural.
The work and thinking of Cote and Bravo reflect themes that RVBIA’s Street Advisory Committee believe are important to the Roncesvalles community. These themes include: Nature in the City, Urban Community, and the interconnected concepts of Legacy, Sustainability and Stewardship. According to RVBIA Chair, Len McAuley, it is important to reflect on the knowledge of Indigenous peoples when considering a theme such as legacy. “Many think “legacy” refers only to the man-made things that have survived from the past,” Chair McAuley explains. “But we should ask ourselves: what about the knowledge and wisdom that has been handed down from the Indigenous peoples as well as the settlers? What knowledge, values and resources can we pass on to support a sustainable future?”
Themes concerning sustainability and legacies can be challenging to depict in art. However, RVBIA board member, Adam Langley, believes that Cote and Bravo can achieve something compelling and thoughtful for the community. Langley explains that Cote’s “knowledge of Indigenous stewardship principles rooted in the Seven Fires Prophecy — which still has great significance to this time in our collective history” — will work well with Bravo’s “aptitude for capturing the spirit and dynamics of a community.”
As an Indigenous artist and graduate of OCAD University’s Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design, Cote uses his research and art to unearth and reveal his cultural experience and knowledge of signs of Indigenous symbols, language and interpretation. According to Cote, “The Seven Fires Prophecy of the Anishnaabe-Ojibwe people encourages the union of all peoples of the human race to ensure a kinship that will lead to peace and harmony.” Phil Cote lived on Roncesvalles Avenue for 3 years and remains involved in the community.
Jim Bravo majored in drawing and painting at OCAD University. Since completing his studies, Bravo has worked on over 30 public mural and many private large-scale commissions. Through local arts organizations, Bravo has also served as an arts mentor for several at-risk youth initiatives. Originally born in Ecuador, Bravo has lived in the Parkdale—High Park area for the last 30 years.
Philip Cote’s works and CV can be viewed online at: www.tecumsehcollective.wixsite.com/philipcote
Jim Thierry Bravo’s works and CV can be viewed online at:
We invite community members to participate in the Roncesvalles Village mural project survey.