From Hate to Hope
BC Human Rights Commissioners Office
To finish off 2023 we were presented with an opportunity to create art inspired by the voices of Nanaimo's youth in response to the 'Hate to Hope' campaign initiated by the BC Human Rights Commissioners office.
Read The Story
During the COVID-19 pandemic, hate began to rear its ugly head. The BC Human Rights Commissioner's office published a 400 page report on their findings on the rise of hate during the pandemic. To introduce their campaign and build a presence around the province, they commissioned four murals, in four different locations. Nanaimo was chosen for their mural project on Vancouver Island.
When May came around, we received a call to action which resonated with us as two trans muralists. The Commissioner's office asked if we would be interested in this project and sent an invitation to a presentation at VIU by the Commissioner, which painted a vivid picture of the struggles many faced. Conversations with organizations, groups, and individuals illuminated the path forward—echoes of pain, resilience, and the desire for an inclusive tomorrow.
Joining forces with a local IBPOC organization RISEBRIDGE, the creative journey took a collaborative turn. Design sessions filled with youthful energy, endless possibilities of themes around hope and togetherness. Their insights guided our design process, shaping the mural's narrative and design.
But every mural needs a location, and with September rainclouds looming, the challenge was real.
We decided to approach the City of Nanaimo to ask if they could provide a home for this empowering project. After meeting with City staff, we set our sights on the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre—a space marred by transgender hate earlier in the year. The city agreed they wanted to move forward with the project and we submitted a proposal and then began waiting until we could go before City Counsel on November 20th, 2023 (coincidentally this is also Transgender Day of Remembrance).
We began painting the mural in December and had a very condensed timeframe. The Aquatic Centre is a very busy location, with only one week we navigated community room rentals and had to create during open hours. We started creating at 6:30am each day and worked until the rooms had rentals in the afternoons.
Thankfully we were able to finish prior to our deadline and the mural was ready for the public launch. At the launch we heard from the Commissioner regarding why they chose public art and their presence in communities across BC. A member from the youth group spoke about his experience with racism and how thrilled he was to see the dark to light and connection lines that he suggest come to life in the artwork.
Lauren spoke about adding the rainbow-hued caterpillar, emerging from a chrysalis and blossoming into a radiant butterfly to show the journey of transformation, evolution, hope, and enduring a spirit of change.
The mural is accessible to the public and can be viewed by visiting the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.
*The mural was commissioned fully by the BC Human Rights Commissioners Office. Although, the mural is located in a Nanaimo City building no funds were contributed by the City of Nanaimo.