Humber College’s newest mural spotlights inclusivity and diversity

May 21, 2024 | Arts, Culture

Humber students are no stranger to the many murals that grace the walls and steps at both the North as well as Lakeshore campuses.

Adding a new mural to this stellar repertoire, Humber Galleries, the Black Heritage 365 community and the Office of Equity, Diversion, Inclusion and Belonging unveiled The Success of Unity at the North campus on Tuesday afternoon.

The digital illustration has been designed by Toronto-based artist Phillip Saunders and features seven vignettes.

These smaller windows paint a tranquil picture of familial bonds that find roots in unity and love. A family holding their newborn infant, girls in sports, a boy at graduation and a team of scientists are part of the imagery.

A mural along the bridge at Humber north campus.

The Success of Unity mural runs the length of the bridge connecting the BCTI to the LRC at Humber North campus. Photo credit: Etti Bali

“The themes that I focus on [are] around intimacy, connection, togetherness,” Saunders said. “It was to represent togetherness [and] unity. It fit perfectly.”

His school of art is inspired by mosaic and figurative art and portraiture.

Elements of nature like rose buds and trees of Serengeti like the iconic Baobab adorn this mural. A soft pastel palette of sky blues, lucid lilacs and pastoral greens pops against more saturated tones of earthy browns and flaming reds.

He says he drew inspiration from his west African roots to achieve this.

“I thought by putting that in there, it would bring things full circle,” he said. “It’s the landscape that represents serenity and peace.”

The mural runs the length of the bridge connecting the BCTI to the LRC in two parts. One part of the mural measures 78 feet and the other, 54 feet. It took Saunders three weeks to create it.

Artist Phillip Saunders looking at his mural.

Artist Phillip Saunders takes a look at his mural for the first time. Photo credit: Etti Bali

The unveiling was as much a reveal for him as it was for others. Seeing it in its final form on the bridge for the first time, Saunders was filled with child-like enthusiasm.

“From the computer to the wall, I love how it turned out,” he said.

Kimberly Daniels, manager, student inclusion and belonging, said that the mural symbolizes the power of community.

“Through this mural, we witness the power of art to tell the rich and varied stories of the Black community,” Daniels said. “Representation is really important. The mural is a love letter to the community.”

Artist Phillip Saunders stands next to his mural.

Artist Phillip Saunders has showcased themes of unity, love and peace in his mural titled The Success of Unity. Photo credit: Etti Bali

Jason Seright, vice president, Inclusion and Belonging, said that the mural is a “vibrant symbol of inclusion and diversity.”

“We strive to create an environment where all feel valued and respected,” Seright said. “May this mural serve as a beacon of inspiration and a catalyst for ongoing dialogue.”

The Campus as a Canvas initiative, an intrinsic part of Humber Galleries, strives to democratize public art. It has taken art beyond the four walls and into the many open spaces at Humber campuses.

Jennifer Gordon, director of Centre for Creative Business Innovation and Galleries, said that diversity is an integral part of this strategy.

“These works have been intentionally curated with diversity in mind,” Gordon said. “Public art matters. Democratizing it matters.”