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Published July 23, 2022

Strawberry mural in downtown Barrie has symbolism to the artist and community

The mural cost $25,000

Mural, mural on the wall.

Four large strawberries featuring hundreds of hearts have been painted on the side of a building in downtown Barrie at 62 Maple Avenue.

The design has strong symbolism for the artist and the community.

Bareket Kezwer of Toronto, along with Monica Loney of Barrie, partnered with the Downtown Barrie BIA to create this strawberry canvass.

"My ancestors are all from Eastern Europe, and when they migrated to Canada during a time of heightened anti-Semitism and World War Two, a lot of traditional knowledge that was passed around orally in those villages was lost," she explains. "In the villages, I learned wild strawberries were really abundant, and they were used to treat a variety of different ailments. Thinking about that, and my knowledge about different First Nations who view the strawberry as a sacred medicine, I was quite attracted to the idea of cross-cultural plant medicine."

Image - Barrie 360

As for the heart pixels, Kezwer says this came about when she thought about the idea of how small things repeated many times can create a much bigger impact than each of those individual pieces.

"It's like the sum of our love is so much bigger than each individual act of love that we give."

Image - Barrie 360

Sarah Jensen, chair of the BIA, says another piece of symbolism is the mural is just up the road from what will be the new Barrie Farmers' Market and Barrie Bayside Market Area in 2024.

The mural cost $25,000 and is a partnership between the BIA, Pratt Homes, and Ward 2 councillor Keenan Aylwin, who represents the downtown, and is contributing from the councillor's community fund.

This is Kezwer's first outdoor mural in Barrie, though she has done them in the Greater Toronto Area, Alberta, Chicago and California.

"I believe that colour is a form of medicine and that as we add more and more colour to our cities rather than having these neutral-toned urban environments, we can help elevate people's moods," she says, outlining why the Barrie project is so meaningful. "As well, murals are one of the most accessible forms of art. Often, if you want to see art, you have to go to a museum or gallery, but public art makes art available to everyone."

In creating the mural, the artists used about five gallons of latex paint and somewhere between 75 and 100 cans of spray paint.

Banner image - Barrie 360

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