The latest mural in Sturgeon Falls is interactive, inviting viewers to get right in there and be part of the scene. Wings of Hope / Les ailes de l’espoir, is an 8’ x 8’ painting of outstretched wings between which viewers can stand to have their photo taken. This piece, painted by Julie Lafrenière, is a particularly significant one for organizer Gayle Primeau. As it was mounted on Saturday, October 24, at the corner of Main and John, Gayle noted that this one was dedicated to her mother and grandmother, as well as her husband Stuart Seville’s mother.
Primeau, who has been a motivating force behind the murals going up across town, said, “I’ve always wanted an angel mural. I’m excited. When I gave birth to my youngest, I had a complication during childbirth… an amniotic fluid embolism and luckily survived it. I believe my grandmother had something to do with this. She is my guardian angel and now my mom is there too… pretty cool.” She also asked Julie Lafrenière to add a quote in French and English. “I chose a quote to make people reflect when they take a picture – “I must be the change I wish to see in the world” – Ghandi.
Julie Lafrenière took a design crafted by her friend Alexa Jessome, and ran with it, creating a vibrant multi-coloured piece that will surely become photographed over and over again. This was Lafrenière’s first mural, but not her last. “I posted on social media some of the artwork that I’ve done and from there Gayle contacted me and asked if I would be interested in doing a mural for the town of Sturgeon Falls.”
Lafrenière lives in Sturgeon Falls herself, and says she’s been having fun with art since she was a child, but has never been in the habit of sharing her work. She works in acrylics, watercolour and charcoal, and describes herself as a person who enjoys a variety of crafts. “Art has always been private to me. I never really shared it very much with anybody and this was my first time sharing – especially a public so large as social media.” It’s not that Julie is shy about her work, she says, “I always just admired other people’s art but never thought about sharing mine.” Regardless of her own perceptions of her expertise, the work is stunning.