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Mural Indigenous artist

The Circle of Life

Alex Janvier // 1976

Acrylic Paint
Muttart Conservatory

Photo by Ryan Parker Photography

Winding around all four walls of the Muttart Conservatory’s main rotunda, which connects the four glass pyramids, is The Circle of Life, a mural by Cold Lake First Nations artist, Alex Janvier. Beginning at the south wall, the work is meant to represent the cycle of life, from the energy of the sun, to the growth of plant, animal, and human from generation to birth, maturity. There is struggle, challenge to tradition, finding one’s role in society, which turns to a settling down, wisdom, spirituality. The cycle ends with death, which returns its energy to the Sun — the beginning.

The piece is a 60-foot long acrylic painting on white latex. Like his other works, Janvier draws from various aboriginal cultures, but interprets the imagery in a completely contemporary manner. Janvier is regarded as one of Canada’s most significant abstract painters, having been awarded the 2008 Governor General’s Awards for Visual and Media Arts.

Muttart Conservatory