New SuperTrain honours nature and the artists’ Salvadoran roots
September 5, 2023
A new SuperTrain temporary public art project by local artists Michelle Campos Castillo and Roger Garcia is gracing Edmonton communities along the LRT line. The artists paired up to create the collaborative design as part of the SuperTrain public art initiative led by The Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists (SNAP) in partnership with the Edmonton Arts Council and Pattison Outdoor Advertising. The artists were commissioned to create the new designs over a two-month residency rooted in the theme of “environmental stewardship,” during which they were encouraged to explore the relationship between the natural world and urban spaces.
Michelle Campos Castillo is a Salvadoran visual artist living in Edmonton. She has been the recipient of several public art commissions from the City of Edmonton. She has a new role as Co-Executive Director at Latitude 53 and is working on a graphic memoir titled Colonia, based on her life in El Salvador during the country’s civil war.
Roger Garcia is a self-taught freelance illustrator and art educator based out of Edmonton who is committed to giving back to the community and sharing his skills. A refugee from El Salvador, Roger and his family escaped to Canada in the 1980’s fleeing civil war. He’s currently working on a personal comic book about his late dog and father.
Said Michelle Campos Castillo of the project’s environmental theme, “We are all connected and responsible for the wellbeing of the earth. In Canada, we are finally experiencing a lot of what the rest of the world, especially the global south, has been experiencing for years.” The public art also shares the artists’ common connection with El Salvador, said Roger Garcia, “We wanted to illustrate our memories as well as plants, animals and vegetation from our homeland. Our respect for nature was instilled in us early on and we carried that with us when we immigrated to Edmonton.”
As the SuperTrain rolls through the city, Michelle has “Heard from Salvadoran people proud to see themselves in the illustrations.” Added Roger, “It means a lot to both of us to be able to share a few of our memories from El Salvador with the community and city.”
SNAP is a non-profit Artist-run centre for printmaking located in Amiskwacîwâskahikan, in Treaty Six Territory (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). SNAP maintains a public professional gallery, a community printmaking studio, offers classes, workshops, and artist residencies, and engages in genuine community outreach and partnerships.
The Edmonton Arts Council is a not-for-profit organization that supports and promotes the arts community in Edmonton. The EAC works to increase the profile and involvement of arts and culture in all aspects of our community life.