Port Rowan now boasts an impressive 2,600 square-foot (240-square-metre) outdoor art installation, a vibrant mural that not only enhances the village’s aesthetics but also serves as a powerful symbol of collaborative community spirit. This striking artwork is the second installment under the Long Point Biosphere Region’s art collaborative in support of the Moccasin Identifier (MI) Project, following a previous installation at the Long Point Eco-Adventures centre.
This latest mural project was guided by international muralists Azerine De Luca and Benjamin Swatez who drew on five days of workshops with local high schools and an open house for the local community at the Birds Canada headquarters near Port Rowan. Participants in the workshops also learned of the significance of sharing the land traditionally occupied by Indigenous peoples and of what it means to say we are all treaty people. After the workshops, De Luca and Swatez along with Indigenous artist Bezaliel Hill reviewed the art created by the students and compiled a concept for the mural.
The Port Rowan installation, which took two weeks to roll out, was coordinated by Biosphere project manager Cynthia Brink in collaboration with the Moccasin Identifier (MI) team from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations. The MI project was created by Elder Carolyn King, former Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations and recipient of the Order of Canada, as an Indigenous-led education and place-knowing initiative. The MI aims to cover Canada in Moccasins so that all Canadians will have a greater awareness of Treaty responsibilities and the history of the land that they stand on.
The Long Point Biosphere murals, including the one in Port Rowan, contribute to this initiative with lively, larger-than-life depictions of wildlife, offering an uplifting reminder of our rich First Nations heritage. The completion of the Port Rowan mural was celebrated with a ceremony in mid-November 2023, drawing a crowd of over one hundred enthusiastic young students and supporters braving the chilly weather. We were honoured with the presence of Elder Carolyn King and her team.
Local artists Tina Brink and Jenneta Dengo as well as visiting artist Cecilia Brink volunteered in the painting of the mural. Local businesses, including Benjamin Moore Canada, Cattail Cove Interiors, LMP Mini Excavations, and Norfolk Electric, played a crucial role by contributing supplies and equipment.