On September 11, your Toronto Zoo and Mural Routes excitedly revealed the installation of In our Nature at the Zoo’s front entrance.

In our Nature is a community-minded multidisciplinary public art project that celebrates Women of Colour in the Scarborough community through five mural panel installations and musical performances. The murals will spotlight BIPOC women in Scarborough, who are active in community work, and feature them in a green space, changing the narrative around this group’s access, perceived safety and sense of belonging in public spaces.
The artwork will purposefully degrade over time to reveal the underset images of the featured individuals beneath the greenery – their faces will be seen emerging from the ground. This is a 2021 City of Toronto Cultural Hotspot Signature Project in partnership with Mural Routes, the E.W.O.C. Project, the Community Arts Guild and your Toronto Zoo.

Each of the 5 panels feature portraits of Women of Colour who are community workers, social activists, mentors and artists from Toronto, who are making change in their communities. Not all forms of community work happen at the same scale and we believe that all acts of care for your community are valuable. To reflect that, we are featuring racialized women doing that work in all capacities.

β€œYour Toronto Zoo is honoured to be chosen as the location for this important community art installation,” says Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo. β€œThe Cultural Hotspot Signature Project helps to shine an important spotlight on Scarborough, one of many diverse neighbourhoods within our city. This inspiring mural will continue to support and motivate a vision where culture thrives within our community,” he added.

"In Our Nature aims to celebrate BIPOC women and the ways in which they carry, support, and strengthen our communities,” says Shafia Shaikh, The E.W.o.C. Project. β€œWe wanted to pay tribute to all the acts of care that may not receive recognition but are at the core of healthy communities and healing. Through spotlighting local individuals working at various capacities, we hope to spark a conversation around the labour of love that is community building, which is often done by racialized women and other underrepresented groups," she added.

The portraits have been painted over with florals and greenery to submerge them in nature. From the Launch in September until the Reveal in October, the florals and greenery will fade away to reveal the portraits underneath. Viewers are encouraged to connect with the themes of joy and celebration when engaging with this public art installation and to further interact with the panels through prompts to access the Scarborough-based Community Arts Guild choir on their headphones or by taking selfies with the panels.

SOURCE: Toronto Zoo

* * *