09:40 AM

Reclaiming black visibility in Strathcona

Mural from Strathcona 2021 Vancouver Mural Festival

Photo courtesy Vancouver Mural Festival

As part of the 2021 Vancouver Mural Festival, BSRP features murals from several Black artists throughout the Strathcona neighbourhood. The area was once a thriving enclave for Vancouver’s Black population before residents were displaced when the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts were built in the early 1970’s.

"We want to allow Black people to have reclaimed visibility,” said Krystal Paraboo, Project Lead for the Black Strathcona Resurgence Project (BSRP).

BC Housing sponsored four murals on the Solheim Place building at 251 Union Street in Vancouver, across the street from Nora Hendrix Place. The murals were created by Black artists Odera Igbokwe and Rachel Achus, Indigenous artist Zach George, and Chinese Canadian artist, Paige Jung.

“We know that art is a way of bringing people together and narrating a story of a place specifically in relation to its past, present and future,” said Amina Yasin, Board Director, Hogan’s Alley Society. “This project was very important for us to promote and participate in, as well as support.”

The intercultural representation of the murals is important as it helps bring to light to the historic and ongoing racism towards people of colour. These murals invite us to imagine what our city could become.

“S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Black Strathcona Resurgence Project by providing a platform to encourage allyship and inclusive communities through the work of local artists,” said Queenie Choo, CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., which manages Solheim Place. “Our hope is to engage the community and promote dialogue surrounding local history and culture.”

Partnerships are critical to BC Housing’s work and none of this would be possible without the close collaboration with S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Hogan’s Alley Society, and Vancouver Mural Festival.

“Community building projects like this help us re-establish historic roots and a sense of belonging that is vital to healthy communities,” said Vincent Tong, BC Housing’s VP, Development and Asset Strategies.

The BSRP includes 13 murals on a map throughout the Strathcona neighbourhood

“You’re seeing more than just beautiful aesthetics of public art, you’re seeing a neighbourhood being transformed for the better,” added Paraboo.