Art form: Mural
2007: Jarnail Singh’s 16x18 foot mural is on the front wall of a Senior Citizen Housing Unit in Surrey, British Columbia. This mural was commissioned by Charan Gill and Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) to commemorate 93 years since the Komagata Maru incident. The mural is painted from photo taken at the time of the incident. On April 25, 2007, Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains made a statement in the British Columbia Legislature about these murals, saying: “I want to congratulate the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society in Surrey for their contribution to our community, especially their efforts to remind us of the importance of the struggles and values of the passengers of the Komagata Maru. Charan Gill and PICS commissioned Jarnail Singh, a prominent artist, to paint a life-sized mural on the side of the PICS complex in Surrey. This mural was painted from a photo taken of the passengers on the Komagata Maru some 93 years ago.
I'm especially proud of this mural for the message it instils in all of us. In my view, it lets us cherish the courage of the passengers of the Komagata Maru and honours their progressive thinking, their bravery and their valour to challenge the laws of the day in the name of justice. These people put their lives on the line for their beliefs and to stand up for what was right.
This mural should serve as a reminder to all of us and to the coming generations that injustices should not be tolerated at any time. Whether they are societal or legislative injustices, we need people to understand that it is their right to oppose things that are not just.
I stand before you today with great pride that they left us with a country to live where there's established acceptance for all faiths, customs and beliefs, where we enjoy free speech and democracy. Please join me in honouring all of those people and organizations who stood up against injustices and thank them for their courage, bravery and compassion towards our humanity. It was their work and vision that laid the foundation to build a society that strives for social and economic justice for all and where we find unity in diversity.” 2
This blog is a long, somewhat messy photo essay on the history and politics of design. Design's socio-historical context—that is, the constraints and influences on the way we make objects, dwellings and cities—seems too often ignored. We no longer know where our styles, tastes or objects really come from, and this damages our creativity and sense of meaning. Historical knowledge is so fugitive in the New World, with everything so decontextualized in the rapid flow of commodities and images. Don't even get me started on tumblr and pinterest.