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Umbrella Chronicles: Jean Burns Art Project


City of Nanaimo



In the wake of the Jeans Burns building fire in 2016, a peculiar project took shape in Downtown Nanaimo. Local artists banded together to tackle an unusual challenge: transforming the otherwise dreary fencing surrounding the open pit into an unconventional canvas. The theme was heritage photos, and this endeavor had a unique twist.

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Lys, with a touch of whimsy, drew inspiration from an old heritage photo featuring an umbrella shop. It was an offbeat choice, to say the least, but art knows no bounds. This artwork was about more than just preserving the past; it was about infusing a sense of intrigue and curiosity into the community.

To achieve this, a real umbrella found its place in the composition. Stained glass, with its timeless charm, was introduced as well, adding a touch of unpredictability to the mix.
This unconventional artwork didn't aim to inspire but rather to amuse, to raise an eyebrow or a smirk. It was a playful nod to Nanaimo's history, turning an umbrella shop into a symbol of delightful absurdity. The art dared passersby to step into a world where the past meets the peculiar.

As onlookers gazed at this eccentric masterpiece, they couldn't help but chuckle, perhaps shake their heads, and ponder the peculiarities of art. It wasn't about grand inspiration; it was about embracing the quirky, the odd, and the unexpected.

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