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Public art strengthens community’s ties

Burrows neighbourhood residents and NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre members worked together toward a lasting representation of their community.

NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre chose artist Gurpreet Sehra to create a community public art project through the Winnipeg Arts Council’s WITH ART community public art program.

After several consultations, Sehra and the community agreed in creating an image based on a map of the neighbourhood from the early 1970s, when NorWest Co-op opened its doors. The name of the finished piece, Social Seed, is a play on the agricultural idea of nurturing, mapping and measuring relationships of different seeds. The centre of the map is the community food centre, and the drawing demonstrates the impacts NCCFC has had in the community.

Social Seed is made up of 119 fabric-coated 12 inches tile squares painted with acrylic paint. Since the start of the project, Sehra facilitated free art classes at the food centre. Together Sehra and students could explore different artistic techniques and generate ideas for a collaborative artwork. It was during these classes that Sehra became open to new solutions.

"It’s a great way to be open to whatever type of project that might arrive because the community doesn’t have expectations as to what will be made in the end and neither do I. We come up the with the project together and see what we can do together," she said.

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