There’s a sticker on the floor at Two Rivers Education Centre (TREC) that reminds everyone who passes it to slow down.
Pause for peace, it says.
As you look up, the wall is filled with an image of the Fraser River. The artwork is called The Mural of Peace and is the result of a creative collaboration between Chilliwack artist John LeFlock and TREC students.
It was officially unveiled on April 22, to coincide with Earth Day. LeFlock was at the ceremony, along with staff, administration and students. Elder Rogers Andrews, whose traditional name is Memel: Spath, from Shxw’ow’hamel First Nation, was there to perform a blessing of the artwork and to speak to those present.
The view used for the artwork is from photographs taken from Hope’s historic Sto:lo settlements Ts’qo:ls and Welqamex. This is the view looking west down the river, said LeFlock.
“It’s so recognizable and such a lovely view looking down that way,” he added.
Andrews also spoke about the river, and how it used to be the only way of transportation.
“Maybe the peace will travel that river all the way down from here,” he said. He also noted that he was present for the blessing of the totem pole that sits outside TREC, many years ago.
“I’m glad to see it still standing today,” he said. “This is very important.”
The artwork was created by breaking the image down into grids on a graph, LeFlock said, as he wanted to teach the students an older way of transposing images.
The students involved were Devan Bready, Paige Clackett, Kastor Hansen, Shania Knox, Carrie Laatsch, Briana Le Feuvre, Isabella Marlatt, Rachel Moreno, Kaija Perez, Anabella Petersen and Luke Wood.
The project was supported by an Artists in the Classroom grant, through ArtStarts in Schools, and funded by the province and BC Arts Council.
Margaret Smiley, principal of TREC, said the project was put on hold due to COVID-19 last school year, but that their funding was happily picked up once again this year by their supporters.
Fraser Cascade superintendent Balan Moorthy said that the pandemic we are currently living through has made the mural even more important.
“I think what we have is a symbol of why art is so important,” he said. “More than ever before we need to reconnect with our humanity.”
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.