Coup des Déesses (Strike of the Goddesses) Artist Statement
TITLE: Coup des Déesses (Strike of the Goddesses)
This mural was created by an integenerational art collective of women, girls, femmes, and non-binary folks (formerly the BIPOC Women Victoria Collective). It was initiated by youth artists Aya Behr and Aisha Haq, and supported by artists Kemi Craig and Farheen HaQ. Youth artists for this mural include: Aya Behr, Aisha Haq, Corvus Campbell, Kasîpinît Napoleon, Ivory Tatem, and Sara Vanderhasslet. This project was a collaborative process that was realized through community workshops which invited in artists/mentors: Serena Lukas Bhandar, Rita Dhamoon, Stephanie Papik, Sarah Jim (W̱SÁNEĆ), Emily Thiessen, & Olvie Li. Technical and design support from artists Emily Thiessen and Sarah Jim enabled us to realize our vision.
As BIPOC youth it is often difficult for us to find spaces where we feel safe, seen, and heard. Creating this mural established a place and time for us to meet others who had shared identities, experiences and a desire to express ourselves creatively.
This mural represents our ability to be powerful as we hold one another up. We recognize our power as individuals, as part of a collective, and as the continuation of our ancestors and descendants. The three figures in the centre of this mural represent strong BIPOC femmes and non-binary folks uplifting and empowering each other. We decided to not give them facial features because we wanted these figures to represent not just three people but our whole community.
The eyes in the plants represent both the value and connection between plants, who are ancestors of the land, and our ancestors. The eyes represent having someone in your corner. The eyes also represent our ancestors watching over us.
The hands represent layers of support and connection. The central figures are holding hands to show their love and care for each other; the hands growing from the plants represent the ways in which plants, the land, and our ancestors hold us up; and there are large hands at either end, portraying our ancestors but also giving a sense of togetherness to everything held between them, showing that plants, ancestors, and living people are all united.
We acknowledge that this mural and our collective could not have grown and flourished without the generosity and wisdom of the land, plants, waters, people and the territories of the Lkwungen speaking peoples and W̱ SÁNEĆ people, and their ancestors.
This project was also generously supported by the City Of Victoria, Open Space Arts Society, The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Belfry Theatre, Red Cedar Cafe, and additional painters Nandi Mucina, Cairo Haq, Paulina Ponce Castaños, Mandeep Mucina, Khalilah Alwani, and Satya Varon.
We dedicate this mural to Raj Sen, who was one of the first people to say yes to this project. Thank you.