Sixteen diverse people gather to paint a mural dedicated to community in Winnipeg

By Aldin Sabic

On September 28, 2019, 16 Manitobans were invited to paint a mural dedicated to the Mexican community of Winnipeg. Laughs and alcohol were shared, and it was a fun night for all.

Miguel Romero, 43, a local photographer organized the event with the Mex Y Can Association of Manitoba. The night of painting was a 2-hour event hosted by muralist Michel St. Helaire, 47.

“I’ve been painting for over 20 years,” says Helaire. “Growing up, I watched my sisters do it and was so amazed by how good they were, and I guess it runs in the family.”

Helaire teaches Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and was delighted to paint a mural for the MYCA.

President of the Mex Y Can Association, Samuel Jasso, 40, signs a corner of the completed mural “Mex Y Can 2019”. /ALDIN SABIC

“It really shows the Mexican community in Winnipeg, and some people may not be great [at painting], but it’s a great opportunity to learn,” said Helaire.

Once the guests arrived, Helaire quickly handed out 16 canvases to the guests to recreate a larger version of his mural. Everyone rushed to grab their paint brushes.

Dana Brocklehurst, 32, and Mandy Brazil, 31, put their own twist on the mural.

“I’m a regular at Nuit, and I figured I would bring my soul sister along this year,” said Brocklehurst.

“We’re going to go get braids and glitter roots after this,” said Brazil.

Another guest, Beatriz Roa, 45, said she “immediately said yes” when her friend invited her to come. She said she doesn’t have as much time to pursue her passion for art anymore because she spends time looking after her kids.

“I love art and painting,” said Roa. “This was a great opportunity to come to, and I think they should do this more often.”

Beatriz Roa, 45, shows off her completed portion of the One Mural for Diversity mural. /ALDIN SABIC

The Mex Y Can Association of Manitoba encourages more people to attend their events. People of any age, skin colour, or sexuality are invited to come learn about the Mexican culture and have a fun time while doing so.

President of the Mex Y Can Association, Samuel Jasso, 40, said he thinks it’s important for the community of Winnipeg to be exposed to these opportunities.

“I want people to be reminded of how important the Mexican community is,” said Jasso. “Exposing the city to Mexican culture is our goal, and I’m so happy to see the turnout.”

Jasso also wants people to know that they are always looking for volunteers, specifically younger people, who are enthusiastic and open to new ideas.

If you’re interested in getting involved, you can contact president@mexycanmb.ca.