VIDEO: A Nelson mural about displacement

Muralist Jean Paul Langlois talks about his work in progress at the Nelson Mural Festival

Jean Paul Langlois is an artist of Métis descent from Vancouver. He’s working on a piece for the Nelson International Mural Festival in the alley on the back of the Cowan’s Office Supplies building. See photos and video below.

He told the Star he often works from movies and television, and this mural is based on three movies he’d just watched when the mural festival approached him.

“One is Heaven’s Gate, a western about immigrants being forced out of a town by wealthy land barons. The other was Cheyenne Autumn, a John Ford film about the Cheyenne being forced from their traditional grounds and sent to the reserves, and a lot of them dying.

“The third was I Will Fight No more Forever, the story of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce escaping to Canada when they were taken away from their traditional lands.

“So it is the idea of displacement and eviction, and I knew there were two sections to the wall so I wanted to do it as a diptych, so one side may be very specifically Western looking, so this the evictors or the muscle that is evicting people. The other side will be a bit more vague and playful although it is people being evicted. They are a little bit alien looking and morphed. It is a community mural so you can kind of put your own meaning to it.”

Langlois said he started creating murals quite recently.

“I am primarily a painter and got interested in it as a teenager so it has been three decades of painting. I work big, normally, and last year I was elected for the Vancouver Mural Festival and that is when I started doing murals. So I am new to this but it is basically the same thing as painting, it’s just brick instead of canvas.”

He said he’s enjoying his time in the alley behind Cowan’s and has received good public reaction.

“It’s been positive. I have met some local colour while hanging out in this alley too, but everyone has been supportive.”

The Star will be visiting Langlois again next week, to track his progress on the mural.

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