Paint the Rails
Conversations on colonization, reclamation and reconciliation through art.
The City of Edmonton chose Paint the Rails as one of its legacy projects for Canada’s 150th anniversary. The project is much more relevant this year as it is also the 140th anniversary of the signing of Treaty 6. Paint the Rails looks to integrate as many cultural communities as possible into the greater story of settlement and reconciliation in Edmonton.
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Paint the Rails proposes to create permanent art installations in six Edmonton LRT stations. The artworks will be inspired by community; artists, elders, knowledge keepers, historians, members of Edmonton’s diverse cultural communities, and other stakeholders are asked to come together to help guide the stories and artistic vision that will inspire the content of the artwork. These murals will tell our shared stories in public places and spark conversations and celebration. Emerging artists and videographers will be mentored by established professionals, building skills among young Edmontonians and sparking creative connections.
Meet the Artists
Carla Rae Taylor
Carla Rae Taylor (formerly Gilday) was born in St. Albert AB and raised in Yellowknife NT. She is of both Dene and Irish/French heritage. Having spent much of her youth and young adulthood close to nature, she learned to listen deeply and be in touch with intuition and creativity. Both the natural world and the dream world have inspired the creations within the borders of her paintings.
Translating dream imagery into drawings and acrylic paintings has long been a favoured creative approach. The dream world has always been ripe with images and messages from spirit that cause deep reflection, introspection and guidance. Stories and legends from Dene culture and from around the world have also influenced and woven their way into her work.
Carla’s early artistic journey led to a more formal art education, beginning in 2003 at the En’owkin Centre in Penticton BC. There she started with Foundations in Aboriginal Art and Creative Writing, then went on to complete a Bachelors of Fine Art (BFA) at the University of Victoria. After finishing the BFA, she went on to complete a certificate of Graphic Design from the Pacific Design Academy in Victoria BC. After 10 years of living in BC and reveling in the wonders of it’s natural beauty, she moved to Edmonton where she has spent the past 5 years working for iHuman Youth Society (www.ihuman.org) as their Art Coordinator, guiding inner city youth through their self discovery and healing through Art. Time spent with inner city youth has influenced her art in many new ways. Elements of urban techniques play into the imagery and materials.
The colourful dreamscapes Carla creates are often made with a mixture of spray paint and acrylic paint on canvas. They contain stylized shapes and images fused with figures, animals, organic lines and elements reflecting nature. Each painting is her personal interpretation of dreams, visions, spiritual experiences and stories. Carla lives in Sherwood Park, AB with her beloved husband Eric, daughter Raeya and son Lyric.
Dana Belcourt is an 19 year old Metis emerging artist who recently graduated from Victoria School of the Arts. Dana grew up in Edmonton on Treaty 6 territory, and uses this cultural influence to shape her work. Her work is based in acrylic paintings filled with deep symbolism revolving around growth and emotion, as well as multi-medium pieces with influences from her heritage and experiences. Dana is very excited to be apart of Paint The Rails, as she believes experience is an integral part of who people are, and what shapes a community. She hopes to include the stories of a community in murals everyone can relate to.
AJA Louden (AJA sounds like 'Ajay', short for Adrian Joseph Alexander) is a artist based in Edmonton, Canada. Born to a family tree with roots split between Jamaica and Canada, Louden is a child of contrast. Bold and arresting freehand spray-painted portraits of figures from Jimi Hendrix and Richard Nixon to local heroes often alternate with hand-lettered designs and vibrant patterns borne of a background in graffiti. Louden looks to bring a multifaceted, collaborative, and multi-narrative approach to contemporary urban muralism.
A background in the sciences, including biology, chemistry, psychology and sociology is a major influence on the concepts and processes behind his work. A few years designing custom metal signage and a childhood full of building wooden skateboard ramps intensified AJA's interest in industrial design and the built environment. His work can be found around the province of Alberta where he lives and works. A travel lover, Louden has also created work in several other countries, including Germany, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, and the UK.
“THE GOAL IS MAKING CITIES AND SPACES MORE INSPIRING, ENGAGING, INFORMED AND THOUGHTFUL THROUGH STRATEGIC AND COMPASSIONATE USE OF ART AND DESIGN. ” AJA Louden
Multidisciplinary artist Matthew Cardinal sees art as a home - a comfortable place to escape to, drift away in, and a place to release stress and tension. Originally from John D’Or prairie in Alberta, Cardinal’s jovial, optimistic demeanor can often be found in his poetry, drawings, paintings, and music. Inspired by art itself, as well as many of the people in his life (real and street families), Matt hopes his work becomes more recognized so he can share it, and his story, with the world. In younger days, he wanted to be someone people feared. He joined a gang and resisted the types of opportunities and relationships that could have helped make life better. With age, however, came experience, along with life lessons. The now endlessly optimistic Cardinal is a beacon of positivity in his community. He says “Who you are attracts like-minded people”, and knowledge of this helped him choose his own path in life. A member of several productive music collectives, Cardinal has focused his energies on evolving as an artist, producing thoughtful, considered work.