Photo: Jonathan Thunder
Jonathan Thunder - June 2018
Jonathan Thunder’s Metaphor is a mural that is currently out of commission. Unlike the permanent loss of The Current and Boathouse Treats and Treasures, this mural may yet be reunited with Lincoln Park.
Like the Lincoln Park Middle School (LPMS) mural, Metaphor was part of the College of St. Scholastica’s (CSS) Mural Initiative project focusing on Lincoln Park in 2017/18, but this time the partner in art was the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) for their building located at 2301 West Superior Street. Metaphor was the first mural to exist on Superior Street west of U.S. Highway 53.
This mural had a more client-driven approach than LPMS, but is still deeply rooted in community. After meeting with AICHO staff, Thunder put together his concept including a birch tree, deer woman, corn, and a large sweetgrass braid which acts as a metaphor for AICHO’s three main focuses: Housing, Culture, and Indigenous food systems. The prominent image of the Deer Woman – a figure from Ojibwe stories – symbolizes strength to Indigenous Women. She is singing to a Goldfinch, the spirit of the Anishinaabe language. “Through this element of identity, strength and knowledge of one’s self can be obtained,” Thunder states. “Inspiration comes from one’s environment.”
After there was agreement on the concept, a full color mock up of Thunder’s design was developed as a complete blueprint for others to paint. AICHO residents and community members did some initial painting with CSS students filling in after and Thunder doing the finishing work.
The mural was installed in June of 2018 on the prominent eastern wall of the building in full view of westbound traffic on Superior Street as well as 23rd Avenue West. Since the building on which the mural was to be displayed is being rehabbed over time, it was painted in three sections that could be removed, stored, and replaced as construction was completed. However, exterior construction on the building and weather damage to the mural necessitated removal. It is currently in storage. Jonathan Thunder hopes there will be a funding opportunity that will allow for repairs so it can be reinstalled. With the striking imagery and strong color of this piece adding so much to that corner, we hope so, too.
Signed paper prints of Metaphor are available here.
Photos: Jonathan Thunder, Shannon Laing
AICHO, 2301 W Superior St (currently not installed – awaiting repairs)