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A World of Welcome — International Village BIA Mural Project

A World of Welcome is a new mural project commissioned by the International Village BIA that pays tribute to the diverse experiences of women of colour who call Hamilton home.

A large proportion of the International Village BIA’s customers identify as women and this community is home to a growing population of newcomers. By recognizing and celebrating the unique cultural identities of women who frequent the BIA, this project supports our ongoing efforts to cultivate an inviting public space that encourages diverse women to enjoy all the BIA has to offer.

We are honoured to have commissioned several local and regional women artists practicing individually and collectively to create these works that emphasize power and beauty while creating a sense of belonging for women of colour.

Robyn Lightwalker & Amani Muhammad Ruiz
Women of Colours, 2022

Mural Location: 245 King Street East

“This piece represents all the women in the black community. It is a call for the inclusion of mixed black women. It may appear to some as if mixed women had a free pass over racism, but we live a lot of the same exclusion with our hair and bodies; also, because of our race, we are separated from our black culture and can’t relate to the white one. We are all part of the same community and black women come in different colours. Let’s embrace each other.”

Amani Muhammad Ruiz

Olka Art Collective: Parisa Partovi, Ismaeil Rezaei, Leila Partovi, and Tania Sedighi
The Trace of Life Left Behind, 2022

Mural Location: 197 King William Street

When an immigrant reaches their destination, culture and art are the most valuable things they carry with themselves. Carpet weaving and mosaic boxes are examples of ancient arts that have an important role in Middle Eastern culture and art; small portions of these appear in this painting.
The fish in this painting symbolize the dreams and future that an immigrated person is seeking. This bright future will always remain in that person’s head, swimming like a fish in an ocean without boundaries.

stylo starr
Untitled (Sanctuary), 2018

Mural Location: 190 King William Street

Now is the time,
to soften

Now is the time,
for deep breaths

Now is the time,
to plant the seeds of sanctuary

Now is the time,
for care.

Now, is the time.

Nearly 66% of Black Canadians, specifically women, suffer from depression. Looking to social media, we see a collective desire for rest, for tenderness. Untitled (Sanctuary) speaks to creating a sacred refuge in a world committed to harming us. Now is the time to come home to ourselves.

Kate Szabo
Judy, 2022

Mural Location: 215 King Street East

Since the first day I met Judy, I knew she was special. She was my high school art teacher and over the last 20 years, I have had the privilege of learning Judy’s story and the honour of witnessing her grace. Judy is a maverick, she is a mother, a protector and above all else, she is a giver.

From a young age Judy developed a keen eye for the injustices of the world and has always fought to keep those around her safe. Most recently, Judy has aimed to create an equal playing field on the Pickleball courts of Hamilton. Recognizing inequality in the sport that reflects those of a larger social fabric, Judy continually works to implement inclusivity on the courts. Alongside other like-minded club members, Judy helped to lead the ‘Mixed Abilities Event,’ a day dedicated to welcoming newcomers to Pickleball regardless of their age, gender, background or ability. It was a great success.

Whatever the arena – on the court, in the classroom, life – Judy is an advocate for all and creates space for everyone to shine.

This mural celebrates Judy – an individual who truly makes the community a better place.

So many are not listening, not hearing, not feeling. I want to be part of the change that is so desperately needed. – Judy

About the International Village BIA

Progressive and creative, our Business Improvement Area (BIA) has served as a commercial hub in downtown Hamilton since 1976, holding the title of Hamilton’s first BIA. Our diverse membership includes over 140 businesses and offers a vibrant mix of businesses from cafes, restaurants, and retailers to world-class theatre productions at Theatre Aquarius. Learn more about the International Village BIA here.

The International Village BIA is supported by the Government of Canada’s Healthy Communities Initiative and the City of Hamilton:

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