Shaw Pride Marches On: LGBTQ2SIA+ and BIPOC Artists Unveil Public Art Murals to Celebrate Calgary Pride Where it Began 30 Years Ago
Shaw Communications, in partnership with Calgary Pride, Calgary Arts Development, and The City of Calgary, celebrates Calgary Pride with public art installations at the four corners of Central Memorial Park
August 28, 2020
CALGARY Aug. 28, 2020 – Shaw Communications Inc. today announced the launch of Shaw Pride Marches On — a public art experience created by LGBTQ2SIA+ and BIPOC artists who applied their talents and creativity to install temporary art murals at the four corner entrances to Central Memorial Park in recognition of Calgary Pride.
Thirty years ago, in a very different environment, 100 brave members of Calgary’s LGBTQ2SIA+ community gathered in the park to protest discrimination and fight for equality in what would later become acknowledged as the city’s first Pride rally.
With Pride celebrations around the world cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaw and its partners — Calgary Pride, Calgary Arts Development, and The City of Calgary — are helping to bridge this void in their home city with public art installations at the landmark Beltline location. Shaw provided each individual artist or team with $2,500 to create their murals.
Today, the completed murals were revealed to mark the first day of Calgary Pride 2020.
“In this extraordinary year, we weren’t able to join Calgarians en masse to celebrate Calgary Pride as we normally would. But we can still partner with Calgary Pride, The City of Calgary, Calgary Arts Development and the amazing artists in our community to create something that everyone can enjoy safely, on their own time and terms,” said Katherine Emberly, President, Business, Brand and Communications, Shaw Communications.
“These murals tell a story. And it’s storytelling that helps the community share experiences, struggles, and the challenges overcome. Our hope is that the stories told through these murals provide a chance to connect, emphasize, and inspire,” Emberly said.
Over the past five years, the number of Shaw employees and leaders participating in the Calgary Pride Parade has continued to increase, reflecting a work environment where people feel they can be their authentic selves.
"Authentic allyship is when we take action to not only recognize, but to also celebrate the breadth of diversity and voice that is reflected in the Pride movement. This collaboration very purposefully does just that,” said Parker Chapple, Executive Director, Calgary Pride. “We are especially grateful for the support of our friends at Shaw for their continued commitment to exemplifying allyship in this project, and every single day, all year round."
“It’s a wonderful thing when arts organizations and corporate partners like Shaw join forces to enable the power of art, to bring our diverse community together and celebrate, even at a time when we have to keep a bit of distance between us,” said Patti Pon, President and CEO, Calgary Arts Development. “We are still able to share unity in celebration, and that’s what really matters.”
“The City of Calgary is proud to partner with Shaw, Calgary Pride and Calgary Arts Development in giving these artists such a powerful and appropriate way to celebrate our city’s Pride amid truly unprecedented circumstances,” said Gian-Carlo Carra, City Councillor for Ward 9.
The following is a description of each piece, provided by the artists:
- These Boots Are Made For Struttin' by Cory Bugden (He/Him) and Sarah Lamoureux (She/Her): “If you’re familiar with the movie/musical smash-hit Kinky Boots then you know that shoes are one of the ultimate forms of expression. From eight-inch glittering platform heels to a pair of tennis shoes that are one hole away from falling apart, we wear our heart on our heels. The concept uses drawing of all different kinds of footwear in motion, in all colours of the rainbow. These boots are made for struttin’ — towards social change, towards a better world, towards safe places for humans in the LGBTQ2SIA+ and BIPOC communities, towards acceptance, towards true expression of oneself.”
- Signal Grounder by AJA Louden (He/Him) and Nicole Wolf (She/Her): “Our work centres around advocacy, inclusion, and aiding systemic change. This work is inspired by a quote from the self-described ‘black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,’ Audre Lorde. Lorde spoke and wrote potently about the meaning of ‘difference’ and the power of listening. In expressive type, we've drawn on her timeless words, ‘I learned so much from listening to people. And all I knew was, the only thing I had was honesty and openness.’ Her quote is a declaration of welcome to every visitor to Memorial Park, as it acknowledges the bravery of the LGBTQ2SIA+ and BIPOC communities and issues a challenge to every Calgarian to listen to underrepresented and marginalized voices without pretense or judgement.”
- Discípulos de Amor by Wilmer Aburto (He/Him) and Colin Menzies (He/Him): A collaboration between photographer (Aburto) and multi-disciplinarian artist (Menzies) focused on the representation of POC, Queer and Femme identities. These voices and experiences are so often erased, silenced, or pushed to the background, that the artists felt very strongly that the stories captured in their work provide a representation that has been missing in Calgary. “As public art, these images can reach an audience that can relate to the visuals,” Aburto says. “This is the reason that in my practice and career that I value art as an important tool for social change. I trust that these images have the potential to contribute to the experience of not just queer people of colour, but for everyone."
- Lone, United by Mike Hooves (They/Them): “Using an object that carries a Calgarian essence via its roots in cowboy culture and its symbolism in Calgary’s queer history, Lone, United places the Lone Ranger mask into a unique historical context. ‘To be present (at that 1990 gathering) but keep their identities safe, Lone Ranger masks were distributed amongst attendees. They served as a symbol for the lack of safety existing (at the time) for queer people legally, institutionally and culturally. Using all the colours from the Pride flag, I wanted to create a colourful depiction of the masks, intertwined with ribbon to represent the link shared amongst those who marched together, and the link shared by queer people to those who broke ground for Pride to exist.’”
Calgary Pride 2020 features over 200 LGBTQ2SIA+ artists, a free learning series with over 100 workshops, #OurPride community partner events, daily happy hour entertainment leading up to Parade Day, and 11 hours of jam-packed entertainment on Sept. 6, all reimagined to take place virtually.
Events will be live on Calgary Pride’s website at calgarypride.ca/live and streamed on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Twitch.
Shaw Communications Inc. is a leading Canadian connectivity company. The Wireline division consists of Consumer and Business services. Consumer serves residential customers with broadband Internet, Shaw Go WiFi, video and digital phone. Business provides business customers with Internet, data, WiFi, digital phone and video services. The Wireless division provides wireless voice and LTE data services through an expanding and improving mobile wireless network infrastructure.
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