An enormous Monarch Butterfly will grace the facade of Centre For Social Innovation (CSI) at 192 Spadina beginning this July! The Monarch Butterfly’s life cycle story includes an incredible journey between their Southern home in Mexico and their Northern home here in Ontario. The mural will feature an Augmented Reality (AR) animation and multiple QR codes that extend the storytelling beyond the painted surface. In partnership with CSI and StreetArt Toronto, BPL and rockstar Graffiti, Mural and Gallery artists Paula Gonzalez-Ossa and Nyle 'Miigizi' Johnston will create a highly visible, accessible source of healing and uplift to the local community and beyond.
The Butterfly Effect Mural features cutting edge storytelling technologies embedded in a vivid mural dedicated to Transformation, Migration and Medicines.
The life cycle of a butterfly is one of nature’s most profound examples of transformation. From egg to larva to caterpillar to the seemingly miraculous dissolution and reformation in the chrysalis, and finally, to the butterfly, capable of marathon flights and precise navigation, this cycle has many parallels in human psychology and spiritually.
The pandemic has underscored and amplified social inequities and injustices here in Toronto and around the world. Going back to what some might consider "normal" is not an option as many systems are revealed to have been catering to some while shutting out, oppressing and brutalizing others. How can we meaningfully engage in cultivating a more just, compassionate world for all living beings?
For such a small, delicate creature, the Monarch butterfly is a powerful symbol of resilience, strength and stamina. Capable of marathon flights and precise navigation, Monarchs have been making the same journey between Ontario and the Oyamel fir forests of Mexico since time immemorial, oblivious and unencumbered by human-made borders and fabricated boundaries.
The idea of the butterfly effect is that even a small local occurrence can have tangible repercussions on a larger scale. A great metaphor for how our human actions can play a part in cultivating a better world. Each time we act with meaning and purpose we are cultivating a new world. Reflecting on these ideas while taking in the visual and digital stories within the mural offers a respite from the surrounding frenetic urban landscape. Engaging with the mural can be an internally valuable mindfulness pause, and a healthy way to reset how we process and respond to the world around us.
Paula Gonzalez-Ossa is a mural artist who has been working with diverse communities producing street level public art, both in Canada and Latin America for over 25 years. Her works, like the most recent 500 ft. mural titled "Our Medicines" located at the underpass at Dupont and Shaw, or "The Ancestral Tree Spirits" located at the Nordheimer Ravine's TTC station exit, depict a colourful First Nations cosmovision in relation to the Original lands of Ontario, working closely with Anishnawbe mentors, Elders and Knowledge Keepers.
Some of her previous public works include: a 120 foot mural honoring First Nations from North and South America, which was the recipient of the 2014 Ward 27 City Builder’s Award, formerly at Allan Gardens. Other locations sport a ribbon-style mural at Women’s Residence, a women’s shelter at Dundas and Bathurst, in collaborations with an all women crew (2015), and a 4 wall rendition of the Medicine Wheel, inside of Na Me Res Sagatay’s courtyard (2016). In sharp contrast she produced an indoor mural with 22 students from grades 6-8 at refugee host school Beverley Heights Middle School (2017).
Paula recently served in the capacity of Resident Artist at the Power Plant gallery, developing mural arts programs at two satellite locations with youth from priority neighbourhoods in Toronto’s West. (2017-2018). In 2018-2019 she worked closely with the 7Th Generation Image Makers at the Native Youth Resource Centre to mentor, facilitate and produce a mural with an all Indigenous women’s team, located at the South facing wall at Christie Pits Park’s Alex Duff Memorial Pool. Her two most recent productions funded by StART’s Partnership Grant in 2019, located at the front façade of Sagatay Naïve Men’s Residence, and the adjacent alley, depict “Medicines and Guardians”, as well as “The Wolves Running South”.
Last but not least, Gonzalez-Ossa is one of the featured artists at the “You’ve Changed” exhibit by STARToronto, at St Lawrence Market’s “Market Gallery”. At the exhibit, the video display shows us her latest short documentary produced for StART, about the basic protocols entailed when developing images in partnership with Indigenous Nations here in Canada.
Gonzalez-Ossa has been voted Best Graffiti Artist for the City of Toronto by Now Magazine’s Readers Poll in 1997, in 2009, 2010, and 2011. In addition, she has been featured on CBC (Radio and Television, varying shows), Much Music, MTV, Global Television, City TV, TVO, CTV, Bell Fibe TV1, Rogers Television, and Telelatino, as well as various television appearances in Chile, USA (NYC/California), and Jamaica.
Nyle 'Miigizi' Johnston
They / Them
It is easy to forget that we are all children of Our First Mother of Creation. Examples can be found throughout nature that connects us to our First Family and Plant Nation relatives. From the flowing river systems that are our veins, to the cedar tree that is our brain stem, the patterns of connectivity are not only beautiful but also inspiring. When I draw or paint I humble myself and try to capture a fragment of the messages, stories, instructions, teachings and beauty that Creation has to provide.
My Spirit Name Wiishkoonseh Miigizi'enh means Whistling White Headed Eagle. I grew up in the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and I have apprenticed with Storytellers since I was young.
I have a responsibility to continue this legacy for the healing of my own people while connecting to the broader world. Sources of my artistic inspiration include Woodland Painters, Storytellers and the traditions of my culture. In a time of reconciliation, it is important for all people to know that we exist and have such a strong, beautiful legacy of stories and teachings from the Anishinaabe Nation that are grounded in my experience and identity.
As an Oshkaabewis (Traditional Helper) who previously worked with Anishnawbe Health Toronto, I have been able to incorporate teachings based on traditional knowledge into each project. Our stories resonate with people across different cultures and they carry universal messages of love, kindness, fairness and care for Mother Earth.
Together in partnership with TakingITGlobal, I developed the Connecting With Our First Family collection of 81 images of animals and plant medicine that have been featured as part of the Ojibwe Language learning resource materials in support of Indigenous students who are part of the Connected North program. Connected North serves over 10,000 Indigenous students in 42 schools based in northern, remote communities across Canada through virtual field trips with inspirational guest speakers and role models.
Nyle Miigizi Johnston, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation
featured AR artist
Quinn Hopkins (b. 1998) is a Digital, AR, VR artist and Painter, Rock-painter, Mural artist. He is a student at OCADU studying Drawing & Painting for his Bachelor of Fine Arts. Quinn is grateful to have Conrad Bobiwash, Blake Angeconeb and Nyle Miigizi Johnston as artist mentors, teachers and helpers. He was recently featured on CBC for his involvement with the innovative non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) and empowering other indigenous artists with the technology. Quinn uses Adobe Creative Cloud, Blender, and SparkAR to create his AR artworks for use on Instagram. This practice is developing to be integrated with all of Quinn’s physical pieces. Quinn considers his art practice as a “medicine that creates balance in his life and remedies his mental health struggles”.
Centre For Social Innovation (CSI) at 192 Spadina Ave
Centre For Social Innovation
Social innovation refers to the creation, development, adoption, and integration of new and renewed concepts, systems, and practices that put people and planet first. Members of the Centre for Social Innovation work across sectors to create a better world. We accelerate their success and amplify their impact through the power of coworking, community and collaboration. Together, we’re building a movement to put people and planet first.