New mural wraps entire building to celebrate Nordic culture

Winnipeg's newest mural is a bright display celebrating Nordic and Scandinavian culture.

The new mural is painted on the Scandinavian Cultural Centre of Winnipeg, a place keeping heritage from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland alive in the city.

"It brings these five cultures together to play, to learn, to everything to celebrate our culture," said Sonja Lundstrom, the president of the Swedish Cultural Association.

"Our ancestors that were such heroic adventurers, the real spirit of the Viking, came here for adventure and created what's here and the rich culture we celebrate here at the centre."

Lundstrom said Manitoba 150 was a major reason for the mural as well as it being the Scandinavian Cultural Centre's 60th anniversary.

"We wanted a visual display, so people knew what this building was about," she said. "You go through other parts of the city and see many other cultures represented. We want our culture's images here in this city. Plus, I think my relatives are saying, 'you get out there and do something.' I heard them. They are up there in Valhalla telling me what to do."

The mural features bright colours to symbolize the 24-hours of sunlight experienced in Nordic and Scandinavian nations, along with visual homages to each country's unique history.

"The mural unfolds and evolves into its detail. That is where you see the multicultural aspects to it. It's how each culture represents itself and expresses its culture," said Charlie Johnston, the artist who painted it.

The mural took Johnston about a month to complete. He said battling the summer heat was worth the chance to paint the centre.

"One of my favourite canvases to do is a full building piece with wrap-around corner effects. It's an opportunity to do so much more than a simple piece that's contained to one part of a building. It's an opportunity to use the art to transform the architecture," said Johnston.

The Scandinavian Cultural Centre, located at 764 Erin Street, hopes the mural brings the community together and draws people to enjoy the artwork.

-With files from CTV’s Michael D’Alimonte