Muralist in Residence Flora Johnson is proud of her First Nation Indigenous Heritage. Flora is a strong supporter of women and showcases their strength and spirituality in her work. Flora’s use of bright bold colour evokes strong emotions. Flora used her skills as an artist to help her heal. And by teaching others to paint, has helped them heal and find their own warrior within.
Flora began her mural process at the Women’s Centre by hosting two discussions with women in the community – one online and one outside in the garden next to the wall her mural is going up on. She asked women to share what they think of and feel when they think about the Women’s Centre, and asked them what kinds of images they wanted to see represented in her work. She has taken those ideas and created a mural full of colour and light.
When asked what drew her to this mural project, Flora shared that she thought it would be fun. She was looking to meet new people and get involved in the community. Initially she was hesitant to apply, but was feeling a lack of confidence. Her family and friends kept encouraging her, so she ended up deciding to apply at the last minute.
Her experience at the Women’s Centre so far has been welcoming, with a “family” vibe – she explained that she feels comfortable and safe, and likes that there are so many cultures represented at the Centre. Especially during a pandemic, when we have all been isolated from each other, there is a need for places where we can be with each other. As Flora says, “People need people.” The mural has been a way to create a sense of being together that acknowledges everyone and their commonalities, including herself.
Flora has used her art in many ways over the years. For example, she has hosted paint nights as a tool for healing for people living with PTSD. When asked about the role of her art in healing, she shared that coping with loss involves doing something that makes you feel good. For her, “slapping paint on a canvas” is what makes her feel good.
Teri Ingersoll is Flora’s daughter. She has been helping her mom with the mural from the start. This is their first professional collaboration. Teri shared that this has been a great learning experience, and described herself as a “stem” growing off her mom. Their styles are different – Teri does more abstract painting, hypographia, and also writes – but her art has been very influenced by her mother. At home they sometimes sit side by side and work on their art together. She shared that she is: “very proud of my mom – she makes me proud every day.” Teri is also a singer, and will be performing at the mural opening on Tuesday, August 10 from 6-7:30pm.
Flora is aiming to include everything women told her they wanted, from animals to colours. Her goal for the mural at the Centre is to create a mural that is powerful, calming, happy and joyful.
We want to express our gratitude to Flora for all her hard work in creating this beautiful mural for the Women’s Centre!