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New Calgary BLM mural slated for Chinatown

A new Calgary Black Lives Matter mural has found a home in Chinatown, the group behind the public art project said Tuesday.

In a message posted to Instagram, Pink Flamingo said they’d found a location for a new public mural – a precursor to the planned four mural project – with artist Jae Sterling behind the brush.  

This project is privately funded, the group said.

The initial location to open the series, on the exterior wall of a building on 1 Street and 7 Avenue SE in downtown Calgary, came under intense scrutiny earlier this summer. The plan was to paint over a popular 25-year-old mural, Giving Wings to a Dream, by local artist Doug Driediger.

The ensuing controversy around the proposed location forced organizers to postpone the $120,000 project to 2021 and find a new location. The project was initiated after the city’s public hearings on systemic racism in Calgary.

“We made the difficult decision last month to postpone our publicly funded murals project to 2021 after an onslaught of racist vitriol and threats,” Pink Flamingo posted to Instagram.

“However, we also received an outpouring of support including that of artists and building owners in the city. Thanks to the generosity of some wonderful Calgarians, we are able to proceed this fall with an additional, privately funded mural project that we are extremely proud of.”

The proposal from Sterling, called The Guide & Protector, will be the artist’s vision of Black voices and Black artists in Canada.

“When we saw his work at the debut of his solo art show Riding Horses With White Men, we knew Jae had an incredible talent that needed to be shared with the world,” Pink Flamingo wrote in their post.

“After seeing his proposal for The Guide & Protector, we knew now was the time to press on with a new and separate project that will serve as the perfect precursor to our 2021 murals.”

The exact location of the mural isn’t yet known. Sterling posted via Instagram that work would begin on the new project Wednesday.

“It is a re-imagining and re-telling of several stories while simultaneously moving us to a new future,” Sterling wrote on Instagram.

Pink Flamingo declined a direct interview about the new project.