A new and colourful Supertrain is riding the rails of Edmonton’s LRT system this fall.
The temporary public art LRT car was created by local artists Michelle Campos Castillo and Roger Garcia. Campos Castillo is a visual artist and co-director at Latitude 53. Garcia is an art educator.
Campos Castillo said she has been wanting to collaborate with Garcia for a while now. Both came to Canada as refugees from El Salvador — Garcia when he was five, and Campos Castillo when she was eight.
“We’ve had a similar journey, and a similar love for the arts and we wanted to do a tribute to Salvadoran culture,” Campos Castillo told CBC’s Edmonton AM.
The Supertrain Residency art initiative was in partnership with The Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists (SNAP), the Edmonton Arts Council and Pattison Outdoor Advertising.
Three artists were commissioned to design three transitory public art murals for the interior and exterior of three LRT cars.
The artists created their designs over a two-month residency. The theme of the project was to explore the natural world in an urban environment, and bring mobile art out of the gallery and outside to Edmonton’s streets.
Campos Castillo said it was hard to come up with designs.
“We grew up with mango trees and lemon trees and avocado trees, so we wanted to bring those bright visuals to transit, which can be a bit drab in the winter — and commuting is hard.”
The train depicts colourful plantain leaves and corn, which are a big part of the Salvadorian diet.
The artists personalized their work. Campos Castillo referenced her father and grandma. Garcia included his old pets — some parrots, a little dog.
“The memories that I drew are still very vivid,” said Garcia, who still has pet parrots.
“I always remember having the guava tree just behind our little apartment in El Salvador,” he said. “And my mom used to have this garden in the front and I remember it was full of hibiscus flowers. I used to just eat them.”
Garcia and Campos Castillo rode the train through the city observing how the commuters interacted with their art.
“All the colours that we included in the train, people just stop and just look around and enjoy every image,” Garcia said.
Campos Castillo said the art has been a source of pride for people in the Salvadoran community.
“There’s some sense of wonder and excitement for the illustrations,” she said.
“We want the colours to bring people in and maybe make them curious about Salvadoran culture.”
Source : CBC