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Indigneous art decorates Manitoulin Island basketball court

A basketball court on Manitoulin Island has had an incredible transformation and an Indigenous artist is seeing her work come to life on the unusual medium.

When you think of artwork or even murals, the base of an outdoor basketball court seems like an unlikely canvas.

Indigneous art decorates Manitoulin Island basketball court. (Supplied)

However, on Sheguindah First Nation, a colourful representation of culture has been brought to life in a design dreamt up by Emily Kewageshig.

"We went forward with the turtle design and then I incorporated the medicine wheel into the center of the turtle shell to represent the good medicine and all the teachings that I know, and that they know and that we’re all familiar with," said Kewageshig.

"And then around the turtle, there are circular shapes that are filled with shades of orange and red that go along with the Every Child Matters theme."

The project was funded through the Toronto Raptors and the MLSE Foundation to help refurbish an already existing court.

Neil Wong and his team, who specialize in creating lasting works of art on various outdoor surfaces, made the project possible.

"We actually stencil the court, but then have to go on a computer and map it out and do the design, so that is the most intricate part," said Wong.

"And then making sure all of the basketball lines line up with the intended design of the artist."

Wong said the community will be able to enjoy the court for decades.

"It’s an outdoor acrylic material and then we add the sand in for grit, so that’s what keeps the traction, but it’s an outdoor UV-treated paint specific for this type of application," he said.

Kewageshig said it is a visual reminder to anyone visiting the court that culture is important, community is important and every child matters.

"I wanted to honour that. It’s their community, it's where they live and it's where they are going to be playing basketball and hanging out, making memories so I really valued everything they had to say and then we went forward with it," said Kewageshig.

"The community was great. I mean they even brought us lunch, they were waiting for it to happen, they were so excited, they kept people off the court while we were working, they were so prideful on that being built for the community," said Wong.

Work has now wrapped up and the paint has dried so the community can enjoy artwork and sport, as one. 


This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Emily Kewageshig. Top Stories

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