I am thrilled to present 'The Original Family', a substantial, Indigenous-centered mural by award-winning artist Phillip Cote that speaks to the presence and rich history of Indigenous peoples in this location. I thank CentreCourt for their sponsorship of this work, and support of Indigenous placemaking. The mural is located across from the new Indigenous Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at 200 Dundas St. East.
"Councillor Wong-Tam asked us to consider an artistic treatment of Grid's south facade," recalls Mitch Gascoyne, CentreCourt's VP of Development. "Considering the influence and impact that Indigenous culture and history has had on our country, the Councillor and CentreCourt believed that an Indigenous Art motif would be most appropriate. In May of 2018, we selected Phillip Cote to bring the project to life."
Cote brought a number of ideas forward for the piece, and after a final decision was made, work began on 'The Original Family' in the fall of 2018. The completed mural depicts the Anishinaabe Creation story, beginning with The First Man (Waynaboozhoo) and The First Woman and their sacred union.
"It is a depiction of one of our oldest stories," says Cote. "The Anishinaabe Creation Story was brought down through oral traditions and pictographic images drawn on birch-bark scrolls." Cote worked on the mural for four months, using his contemporary style of Woodland Painting.
"It has been an absolute pleasure working with Phillip," says Gascoyne. "CentreCourt is committed to honouring what is best in our communities, and 'The Original Story' is a vibrant reminder of the proud, strong Indigenous foundation upon which we build."
About Phillip Cote
Philip Cote is an artist, an educator, a Sundancer, a Pipe Carrier, a Sweat Ceremony leader, and a member of the Eagle Society. A graduate of OCAD University's Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media and Design in 2015, Philip creates opportunities for teaching methodologies on Indigenous symbolism, language, knowledge, and history.