Calgary artists Nasarimba (Mikhail Miller and Rachel Ziriada) and Edmonton-based artist Jill Stanton returned to BUMP in a joint collaboration. Nasarimba brings abstract form and colour to their work while Jill’s work often reflects the community or environment through the abstracted still life of objects and natural elements. The collaborative team has worked on several projects together.
Our approach for the Uptown Bottle Depot mural was to reference and reflect on the surfaces, materials, textures, objects and colours found in downtown alleyways of urban centres. The Bottle Depot wall is located in the alley of an area that has been extensively redeveloped over the past two decades through a process of gentrification. The mural depicts massive, weathered cinder blocks (the material of the wall itself) and other common architectural materials. In highlighting and amplifying these basic building blocks, broken structures and rough textures, we are placing value in what is often looked over or discarded, and demanding from the viewer a second, lingering look. We were drawn to the hidden value that can be found when looking beyond surface level assumptions about what is valuable and what is thrown away; bright, vivid colours and human connection shining through the cracks.
In the spirit of the Bottle Depot and its role as community recycling hub, the mural was created with as much recycled paint as possible—paint left over from previous projects, mistints and used gallons from the ReStore. We also experimented with homemade and unconventional tools for paint application in order to create some of the textures and strokes. Throughout the course of painting the mural, we were visitors to a place vastly different from our regular lives. We witnessed first hand the drastic need for more funding to be allocated to harm reduction, safe consumption sites, mental health resources, housing for un-housed peoples and food security, to name a few. We also bore witness to the role police have in controlling and intimidating the lives of vulnerable communities in this city. We hope that more funding will be allocated to support those most in need instead of criminalizing their lives.