Kelly Shpeley was considering a name for her new mural when ANKORS’ Vera Horseman walked by and made a suggestion.
“Harmony? We’ll go with Harmony,” said Shpeley.
The name fits. Shpeley’s piece inside ANKORS’ overdose prevention site (OPS) is meant to give the clinic’s atmosphere a splash of serenity.
“I was thinking in terms of community and the different services ANKORS offers, not just OPS but also outreach,” said Shpeley, a professional artist known locally for her work, during an event last week.
“So the rainbows are basically to show inclusivity of everyone, and I wanted to have the clouds in the background as a serene atmosphere. Also crows and foxes are very community orientated animals. I just really wanted something soft and friendly and inclusive.”
Shpeley’s piece is one of three commissioned works added to the walls of ANKORS’ OPS at 101 Baker St. The other two are by Indica Moon and Orion Kemp, who are among the ANKORS’ service users.
The project was conceived by Horseman, who worked with Shpeley to find grants that would pay Moon and Kemp for their work.
“I’ve just loved that interface between art and harm reduction,” said Horseman, who was a jeweller before she became a nurse.
“I feel like it’s a wonderful way for people to express themselves. It’s something that is not about addiction and where they’re at in their lives. It’s something beautiful in their lives and it doesn’t speak about their immediate needs and their position in society and any of that. So I just wanted to make that possible in this space.”
Moon, who painted a stylized purple elephant for the project, said it meant a lot to give something back to ANKORS.
“It was intimidating at first because this is my first piece that was going to be publicly displayed,” they said. “But once I got down and did it, it went really easy. It just all kind of flowed together.”