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Call to artists

Thu-itstuhw tun shqwalawun – be truthful with your feelings 

Nanum 'Iyus Tth'ele, a partnership of Quw’utsun' Elders and youth, the City of Duncan, Cowichan  Intercultural Society, Duncan United Church,

and the Downtown Duncan BIA, seeks artist submissions  for a mural celebrating Quw'utsun' heritage, teachings, and resilience.

Opportunity Overview 

In honour of the survivors of the residential school system, racism, and intergenerational trauma, the partnership Nanum 'Iyus Tth'ele is commissioning a mural to be placed at 221 Jubilee Street, adjacent to Duncan United Church, as well as at 191 Station Street. The theme of the murals is "thu-itstuhw tun  shqwaluwun" - "be truthful with your feelings."


This mural will be funded by Duncan United Church through Victoria Presbytery Pro-Vision Fund, the Cowichan Intercultural Society with funding support  from Island Coastal Economic Trust, and the City of Duncan’s COVID-19 grant-in-aid fund.  

Based on consultation with Quw'utsun' Elders (Councillor Albie Charlie, Laureen Charlie, Philomena  Williams, Merle Seymour and Lucy Thomas) and youth (Erin Sylvester, Eva Elliot, Makayla Joe-George,  and Eddie Peters)


the concept for 221 Jubilee Street must include three panels, one each for the past,  present, and future of "reconciliation," reframed as “thu-itsthuw tun shqwalawun,” and based on  Quw'utsun' heritage and teachings. The wall is approximately 2,530 sq feet.  

While an opportunity for two murals exists now, this committee is also seeking to establish a roster of artists for future murals of the same theme. With the submission of your concept for this year's mural,  please include your portfolio for consideration for future "thu-itstuhw tun shqwaluwun" - "be truthful  with your feelings" themed murals.

A Selection Panel will choose the approved artists for this competition and partners will help pair artists with opportunities as they come up. There is no guarantee that artists on the roster will be selected. 

Site considerations


For your proposal images please be sure that your content is suitable for the public. This mural is an educational opportunity, a recognition of complex emotions such as grief, and a celebration of  Quw'utsun and neighbouring villages' heritage and teachings. It is intended to be healing. 


Artist Eligibility  

This competition is open to lead muralists who are members of Quw'utsun or identify as Coast  Salish Indigenous. Muralists partnering with a lead do not all need to be members of a Nation.  

We encourage applicants to form collectives and apply in a collaborative effort, and especially to include youth and apprentices in their proposals. 

Portfolio Directions 

Please supply proposal for 221 Jubilee's three panels and a digital portfolio of up to five images of your recent work (created within the last five years). These images will be reviewed first by the  Quw’utsun Elders and Youth, and finally, by the public art jury.  

If you are added to the roster, the committee will share these images via email with organizations,  private businesses and others who have an upcoming opportunity to start the matchmaking process.  

Please submit images to


Ensure that each individual file size does not exceed 5MB. 

Your images must be labelled as follows:

• Title your images in the following order:

(01_LASTNAME_firstname, 02_LASTNAME_firstname up to 05_LASTNAME_firstname) 

• Projects were completed in the last five years (2016 – current) 

• JPEG or PDF format 

• Use high-resolution images, but ensure that each individual file is under 5MB 

   Please also submit artist fee and project cost estimate and 500 word abstract for the 221         Jubilee  Street concept to connect your proposal with the below selection criteria. 



These are the guidelines for inspiration that the art panel will assess submissions based on: 

1. Collaborative Effort - Will you include youth, emerging artists, and/or an apprentice in  your work plan? Did you work with another artist to complete the concept for 221 Jubilee St.? 

2. Rationale - What statement are you making about survivors and racism?


3. Inclusion of Hul'q'umi'num' Language 

4. Teachings - How does your concept connect to the following teachings: "nuts'amaat  shqwaluwun" ; "ts'its'uwatul" and " 'i'yatul " 

5. Transition - Is the past, present and future connected in your three panels? 

6. Spirituality, Respect for Mother Nature, and Story-Telling - Do the images tell a story, and  does that story show a respect for earth, elders' knowledge or predictions, nature, and the  Creator? 

7. Emotions - Does the submission evoke powerful emotions, does it capture love, pain,  tears, loss, anger, trauma, hope, unity, and connection? 

8. Healing - What message will your art share with the world about a healing process? 

9. Family and Youth - Does the concept capture our xe' xe' mustimuhw? Does the art suggest  themes of separation and reunion? 

10. Values - What values are communicated based on your work of art? 

11. A Multimedia Component - this might include songs or other sounds accessed through QR  Code, or lighting, or... 

12. Resilience and Pride - Does the proposal communicate and reinforce strength?


A Selection Panel of qualified individuals, including Quw’utsun elders and youth from the Nanum 'Iyus Tth'ele committee, will review the submissions based on the project objectives and selection criteria. Their selection will go to the City of Duncan's public art jury for final approval. The panel will select a concept and artist or group of artists for the mural at 221 Jubilee and 191 Station  Street, in connection with the property owner. For future murals, the same process will take place. Property owners seeking to fund their own mural may also choose from roster portfolios.


Call to Artists Launch................................ August 01 

Deadline for Submission........................... August 31 

Selection Process with Elders ................... September 1 – 15 

Public Art Jury........................................ September 22 - 29 



Amanda Vance 


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