Work of art
New mural to be unveiled in Botwood on Saturday
It’s no secret that Botwood has a rich history.
“I would go so far as to say there isn’t a community globally of this size – 3,000 people – that has this diverse a history as we do,” said Mike Shainline, Botwood Mural Arts Society president.
The Botwood Mural Arts Society is helping to tell that story.
Thanks to the Botwood Kinsmen and Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council for their participation and financial support, the group is preparing to unveil its eighth mural at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Botwood Public Library. Some of the authors who have illustrations of their books in the mural, as well as Flanker Press have been invited to attend, and the event is open to the public.
“We would like to see a good turn out on Saturday,” Shainline said.
This is the third summer and forth mural Grand Falls-Windsor artist Craig Goudie has been commissioned for in Botwood.
The first summer he did two murals that flank the entrance at the cenotaph grounds. Last summer he did the piece documenting the story of Demasduit, who is also known as Mary March, as it related to Botwood as she had died in the harbour in Botwood.
“i would go so far as to say there isn’t a community globally of this size – 3,000 people – that has this diverse a history as we do.” Mike Shainline, Botwood Mural Arts Society president
This year’s call was for a piece doing with Newfoundland authors, in particular local authors, Goudie said, and “The Two Rs” came to fruition.
“The previous two murals were tied to historic things and I had a lot of reference images… This time out I could do pretty well what I wanted,” Goudie said. “This piece for me is a little bit more of a fantastical.”
‘Writing’ on the wall
Goudie said people were polled and went to the Botwood Library to suggest authors they would like to see represented. He was supplied with the list, and he added to it. In the end, 88 books are depicted on the mural which covers two walls.
“On the corner where the two walls meet there are a stack of books that are continuous pile and at the very top it shows there are more books coming, more books possible, and books that I don’t have involved in this Newfoundland and Labrador authors so it’s a continuing, building growing pile,” Goudie said.
One wall is more about writers, and the other, about readers, he explained.
“The main feature is the flakes and stages and the outport community but it is all constructed from books and writing implements – pens, pencils, and even a few calligraphy pens,” he said.
The readers’ wall ends off with the next generation of writers with a large figure of a modern looking young woman.
On the writers’ wall, hands depict the writers over the years from the quills to the pencils and pens to the keyboards.
“When I thought about that wall I thought where do they get it? Where do they get their inspiration?” Goudie said.
Raining down on the little Newfoundland fishing community magically out of the aurora borealis are letter and bits of scrip from Viking times, as well as little paper boats, since Botwood was a community that shipped a lot of paper.
“Little paper boats are raining out of the sky and being picked up on the water and they are coming back home to the community,” Goudie said, adding some of it is also being drawn up out of the water.
“Obviously a lot of the inspiration, whatever you are doing in this place, comes from the place,” Goudie said. “That’s one thing I was trying to depict in this story on the mural.”
Some of the same items are raining down on the next generation figure as well. He tried to keep it fairly colourful as well, which he could do with a fantasy piece.
Close to home
This mural, like the last three he created, has a lot of personal significance to Goudie.
He has a lot Newfoundland authors in his family, including his wife, brother-in-law (who is included on the mural), his youngest son, and oldest son who is a journalist. Goudie himself has also been involved in a couple of books over the years.
“We have a lot of storytellers on both sides of our family,” Goudie said. “My father-in-law is particular is a huge storyteller. Whether it’s oral tradition or things written down, I just think that everybody in this province really gravitates towards storytelling. Having so many storytellers and writers in my family, it was nice to be able to honour that.”
Goudie is hopeful people will look on the wall and want to read the 88 books that are depicted, and dig a little deeper and look beyond those as well.
He is also hoping to encourage others, just like his next generation writer in the mural, to share their stories.
“We are only a little tiny province we have a little population but we have an awful lot of creativity that seems to happen here,” Goudie said. “You got a story, get it out there.”
He also urges viewers to look for the little things he has tucked in this mural.
“There are other things that are pretty significant that this is a Newfoundland and Labrador author’s piece,” he said.
Goudie tips his hat to the Botwood Mural Arts Society in knuckling down and making these projects happen.
“For a small group of people they are crazy dedicated to this and they do a ton of work,” Goudie said. “They have been very encouraging to me and it has been a bit of a treat to work with them because they are so positive about this. For a great big idea that in lots of ways should be a difficult thing to be doing, they are achieving it and doing it in fine style, and they are helping to tell the story of the community. Botwood has a very rich history and this is a great way to get it out there.”
Goudie said tourists love the murals, however, he also had lots of comments from very appreciative locals who love seeing the murals happening in their community.
“The whole reason for doing this is for economic development,” Shainline said. “The idea is that you are going to get travellers coming into this area. The more people that come into this town as tourist, the more demand on our retail sector, and the more demand on the retail sector the more people find employment opportunities.”
The Botwood Mural Arts Society will be unveiling its eighth mural on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 11 a.m. Artist Craig Goudie’s “The Two Rs” depicts Newfoundland and Labrador authors, and covers two walls of the Botwood Public Library.