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Scandinavian Centre Unveils New Mural

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To celebrate its 60th anniversary and Manitoba 150, The Scandinavian Cultural Centre of Winnipeg created a new mural.

They invited renowned artist Charles Johnston to create a piece to capture the eyes of those driving down Erin street. Sonja Lundstrom, President of the Swedish Cultural Association, said this mural is to remember the accomplishments of the Nordic peoples who settled in Canada.

“Our ancestors were such heroic adventurers, the real spirit of a Viking who came here for adventure, and what they’ve created here. For Manitoba 150, we wanted to display something, so people knew what this building was about. You go through other parts of this city, and you see many other cultures represented, and we want our culture’s images here in this city. It’s a major thing to celebrate.”

The Centre composes the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Sweden. The mural needed to be designed to encompass all five of these countries, and according to Lundstrom, Charles Johnston was the perfect choice for this project.

Luckily for the Winnipeg-based muralist, sculptor, and professional visual artist, the five communities which consist of the Centre have a lot in common.

“Weaving the narrative together is really important, and it’s really about looking for the key metaphor, that core statement,” said Johnston. “Asking very simple questions, one being why are five cultures coexisting in one building? When I get the answer to that is they all come from the same part of the world, they share similar value systems, live in a similar climate, have similar experiences, and they’re all Vikings.”

Johnston has four more projects to complete, all local. Although he said he is an international artist, due to COVID-19 restrictions, he abstained from travel-related projects.

Lundstrom said they are delighted with the mural and can’t wait to share their culture with Winnipeg and beyond.

“It helps enhance the culture within ourselves and spreads throughout the rest of the community. We’re going to get the Ambassadors here to visit, and we’re going to get people from across the country and internationally, those coming and going.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Centre has had to celebrate its culture and traditions digitally this year. Once restrictions ease, they will again be able to host dance groups, languages classes, and various other celebrations of Nordic heritage.

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural.

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