Despite the recent flooded damage to the rail line to Churchill that has isolated the community, Kal Barteski plans to lift spirits the only way she knows how: through art.
Barteski has a history of bringing awareness to ocean conservation through her work as an artist and as the founder of the Polar Bear Fund.
This year, she took things one-step further when she coordinated the Sea Walls Festival in Churchill, where she and 17 other artists traveled to the Northern town to create beautiful public murals. Although the intention of the festival is to bring awareness to global warming, after the rail line flooded, it became a way to inspire the people in Churchill, too.
“I think the general feeling [in Churchill] is just, ‘Why isn’t anyone helping? Why isn’t anyone doing anything?’ And they’re tired of one disaster after another without any real assistance,” says Barteski.
Barteski has been visiting Churchill for years now, and she knows that its dreary buildings misrepresent the “anything but dreary place” that Churchill is. So she and all the other artists from around the world, from Brazil to Australia to New Zealand, joined forces to colour the town with these murals.
“I just wanted people to know that we see them,” says Barteski. “We see you, you have value, and we want to do something for you, and this is what we can do.”
As the murals progress, Barteski says the people of Churchill have become more and more interested. Community members drive from mural to mural, asking questions and engaging with the artists.
At the same time, the artists have found themselves in awe of Churchill’s beautiful landscape and the overwhelming welcome they received from the community.
With only a few days left of the festival, you can see the progress of the murals as they begin to wrap up on June 26.