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Past and Presence: NEC Mural Project

NEC_Mural Design (1)

Check out the finalized design for our Past and Presence mural project for the Tsimilano Building, the NEC’s administrative building located on East 5th Avenue! Our lead artists Corey Bulpitt, Sharifah Marsden and Jerry Whitehead recently held a series of workshops with the Urban Native Youth Association’s Young Bears Lodge and other community members to collaborate on this design. See pix from those workshops here.

It’s been slow going but we’re patiently waiting for our permit and planning a paint party BBQ in July – all are welcome to attend!

For updates and invitations to mural events, email


The Native Education College (NEC) and grunt gallery are partnering with three Vancouver-based First Nations artists: Corey Bulpitt, Sharifah Marsden and Jerry Whitehead to create a large scale mural that celebrates the NEC’s 30th Anniversary at their location in Mount Pleasant.

We’d like to invite the public to participate! Especially youth, families, and anyone interested in learning about contemporary Indigenous art practices, Indigenous-led education, the history of Mount Pleasant, and working together to plan and paint a community mural.

The mural will be painted on the east wall of the Tsimilano Building, an administrative building located next door to the Longhouse on East 5th Avenue at Main Street, a busy urban area in East Vancouver.

Mural planning session #2
Saturday, January 23, 2016
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Native Education College Longhouse
285 East 5th Avenue

Light refreshments will be served. Attendance at meeting #1 is not a requirement. In fact, we hope new participants will come to each meeting.

This session will also include a tour of Coast Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s art studio.

We will continue to meet on a monthly basis to plan the mural. Painting will take place in April 2016 followed by a big launch party!


Corey Bulpitt: aakeit Aaya or “Gifted Carver” Haida of the Naikun Raven clan was born in Prince Rupert BC in 1978. He is a great-great grandson of the famed Charles Edenshaw and Louis Collison. He is an avid painter, jeweler, wood and argillite carver who enjoys exploring different mediums such as spray paint, which he has used to create large-scale paintings involving urban youth in Vancouver. Through his study Corey creates functional pieces that can be used in the traditional context of song and dance.

Sharifah Marsden: Sharifah is an Anishnaabe artist from Mississauga’s of Scugog Island First Nation. Sharifah draws from her Anishnaabe roots and her knowledge of Woodlands art to create works that include everything from acrylic paintings, murals to beadwork and engraving. She graduated from the Native Education College, Northwest Coast Jeweller Arts program under established Haida/Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Dan Wallace. She has been focusing on her own career as an artist, creating jewellery and designing murals for a number of Vancouver’s non-profit organizations.

Jerry Whitehead: Jerry is of Cree heritage from the James Smith First Nation in Saskatchewan. Art has been his lifelong passion. Today Jerry resides in Vancouver and he continues to paint within his community and abroad. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree – Indian Art (S.I.F.C) from the University of Regina in 1983. He then went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1987. You may view Jerry’s artistic projects at and see the various projects he has been involved with.


Session #1 – December 9, 2015

Approximately 15 people gathered to meet the artists, Corey, Sharifah, and Jerry.  Russell Wallace from the NEC spoke, as did Tarah Hogue, Aboriginal Curatorial Resident from grunt gallery.  Each of the artists gave a presentation which included photos and stories of past murals they’ve worked on.  Then we all walked outside together to look at the blank wall we would soon be painting.  It’s really large!  At the end, everyone took a blank piece of paper and sketched out their ideas for the mural design.

#2  – January 23, 2016

New and returning participants convened to continue planning the NEC’s 30th anniversary mural.  We started the session with a visit to Coast Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s studio.  Wow!!!  Lawrence impressed upon us the importance of meaning and symbolism in artwork.  It really made us think about what we wanted to say with our mural.  Afterwards, we went back to the NEC where Corey Bulpitt gave us a lesson in the use of the “ovoid” shape in Coast Salish art.  Then we broke out the colouring pencils and tried to create our own ovoid inspired designs.  We also got a sneak preview into what might be the first draft of our actual mural design, but it’s still in process.

Join the NEC Mural Project’s Facebook group to get involved and receive updates on this evolving project.


For more information contact Tarah Hogue, Aboriginal Curatorial Resident at grunt gallery:




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