Those are photos of stencil spraypainting on a sidewalk in London, Ontario, Canada. (Here’s the location on a map.) That sidewalk is between a museum and a “land registry office” “court house.”
For those of you who don’t know this, the Canadian flag is up-side down in those images. The first image also is a different take on the official Canadian national anthem, which actually begins with “Oh Canada, our home and native land” — rather than “Oh Canada, our home on native land.”
I expect that most people here in Canada don’t think of indigenous people when they hear or sing the part about “native land.”
There are more than a few of those two stencils spraypainted in the area — along with another one. Here’s a photograph of that third stencil:
(The sun was setting when I took that photo, but the pavement wasn’t that golden. The same is true of at least one of the two photos.)
I’ll give some backstory about the setting around that photo, and about my experience the day I took the photo. First, here are two other photos that I took that day -
Believe it or not, those last three photos were taken shortly before and after I heard the official Canadian anthem sung at a nearby ball park –
a ball park that happened to be called Tecumseh park, before it was renamed. Now it’s called “Labatt Memorial Park.” (So it now is a memorial for the Labatt beer company — which apparently was founded here in London, Ontario. There certainly is a Labatt beer factory here, anyway — on native land.)
The last “Oh Canada” photo is from a public park; and the others are near a museum and a different public park.
All of the stencils in this post are on this Flickr map.
The stencils themselves raise various important issues — about belonging, possession, and so on. I’m not going to try to even begin to comment on all of the issues. I’ll just act as little more than a messenger — for now, at least.
These stencils are in the park with the last “Oh Canada” stencil (and others that I didn’t photograph) -
This photo was taken on a stage in the same park -
(To see a larger version, click that photo and then select the “all sizes” magnifying glass above it.)
Here’s another photo of the “Oh Canada” spraypainting stencil in a different location (very close to the two at the top of this post) -
(That photo wasn’t taken by me.)
There are comments on it.
A follow-up post, with graffiti about similar indigenous issues -
“On native land – Part 2”
This previous post here is relevant -
“Transcending old colonial roles and imperial mindsets”
From Paulette Regan’s speech “A Transformative Framework for Decolonizing Canada” …
I’ve heard that at least some of the stencils were on the ground before July 1st — Canada Day