Commuters travelling near China Town will notice a colourful new addition to the side of Swift House, a supportive housing unit at the corner of Wharf and Swift Streets.
Swift House was the first purpose-built building put forward by Victoria’s Cool Aid Society, who commissioned the mural in celebration of its 50th anniversary.
“We have spent that time going about quietly providing services, from a very small organization with one small building and one emergency hot-line for youth, to now an organization with 18 buildings, a mix of supportive housing, shelters an health clinics,” said Don McTavish, director of residential services. “In celebration of our 50th year we’ve been doing a number of things to try to give back a little bit to the community, enhance our profile and enhance our community as we always have done.”
The painting was created by City of Victoria’s artist-in-residence, Luke Ramsey, who was also recently involved in the Concrete Canvas project that saw a dozen murals go up in the Rock Bay area.
After professionals took an entire day to put up proper scaffolding, it took Ramsey nine days to complete the piece.
“It’s called ‘Mineral Mountain, Hope and Home, and it’s an abstract interpretation of a landscape,” Ramsey explained. “The whole goal of it was to make something bold and vibrant, but also have a sense of vulnerability in that abstraction as well.”
Ramsey used some of the colours from Cool Aid’s logo within his piece, and so far residents and neighbours have been very happy with the results.
“I think it’s really important to have public art, because it makes people feel a sense of ownership towards it too,” Ramsey said. “Art is subjective, and people will have different opinions about it. I think it’s good to spark conversation, especially with topics like homelessness. It’s important to talk about, just like it’s important to talk about art.”