Artist Brandon Gabriel embraces friends and family who attended the mural unveiling. (Miranda Fatur/THE NEWS)

Artist Brandon Gabriel embraces friends and family who attended the mural unveiling. (Miranda Fatur/THE NEWS)

Downtown Maple Ridge gets mural makeover

“The Mountain of the Golden Eagle” is Maple Ridge’s latest mural in the Back Alley Mural series.

224th Street in Maple Ridge just got brighter, with the addition of a mural project that was unveiled on Friday, Aug. 24.

Brandon Gabriel, Kwantlen First Nations mural artist, titled his work “The Mountain of the Golden Eagle.”

The project represents First Nations culture and themes.

“I wanted to honour these beautiful creatures that call this place home,” said Gabriel.

Gabriel painted two golden eagles on either end of the mural, a Salish spirit of an eagle design in the centre, and the Golden Ears mountain range in the foreground.

Gabriel said the Kwantlen name for Maple Ridge means “the place where the golden eagles are.”

“Prior to this land being settled is where the eagles would come. This whole valley all the way up to Golden Ears mountain would fill with eagles. This place was a very special, spiritual place for the people who inhabited it and for the creatures,” added Gabriel.

The project is part of the Back Alley Mural Program which was initiated by the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association.

Gabriel addressed the crowd of community members and representatives, friends and family members, who gathered to watch the unveiling. Gabriel said he was amazed at how many people joined him along his artistic journey.

“I want to thank you for trusting me with this space. The other thing that was really amazing was the amount of people that came and visited me. The residents who live back here promised me that as long as they live here, they will look after my mural.”

Gabriel said the biggest challenge was the weather.

“The only challenge I had was the weather. I’ve never had to stop working on something because it was too sunny—but I did,” added Gabriel.

The project took more than a year to complete.

“The Mountain of the Golden Eagle” is the second mural in the Back Alley Mural Program. The first mural project is between Once Upon A Tea Leaf and Bell Locksmith.

The DMRBIA mural project was funded by the City of Maple Ridge’s Public Art Steering Committee and Public Art Program and a member grant from the ACT Arts Centre.

The mural is located on the north wall of 11969-224th Street in Maple Ridge.

 

Artist Brandon Gabriel poses with friends and family who watched his mural unveiling in downtown Maple Ridge. (Miranda Fatur/THE NEWS)

Artist Brandon Gabriel poses with friends and family who watched his mural unveiling in downtown Maple Ridge. (Miranda Fatur/THE NEWS)