It has yet to be assigned an official number, but Chemainus’s latest mural is already turning heads, and locals are mining for information on the artwork’s subject.
The mural, unveiled on June 17, is based off of a photo from the BC Archives and features a coal miner pushing an ore cart out at the Lenora Mines.
What’s most unique about this particular mural, which is on the River Road side of The Silver Mine in Chemainus, is that it has been sculpted into a 3-D piece with sound piped out from the store.
“The reviews have just been phenomenal, especially with the locals,” said Barbara Bond, co-owner of the Silver Mine. “It’s a good shot in the arm for Chemainus to have a new mural.”
The mural was completed over six months by Ladysmith’s Terry Chapman, owner of Vancouver Island Carving Company. It was a 500-plus-hour project that was completed in stages.
“I thought it was cool technically because it uses a lot of skill sets,” he said of the piece. “There’s a lot of skill sets involved — like sculpting, mould-making, casting, fabricating and painting.”
With no pun intended, Chapman added that working on the mine-themed mural was a real blast.
“It was fun starting out with a concept and then having it finished come out looking the way you want it to look,” he said.
The mural was commissioned by The Silver Mine but becomes the property of North Cowichan once completed.
Bond is also working with the Festival of Murals Society to get the mural assigned an official number. There are more than 40 murals in Chemainus.
The Silver Mine specializes in handcarved jewelry, silver and stones found locally and from around the globe. Its mining theme lends itself beautifully to Chapman’s work.
“It’s our way of giving back to the community because the community is very supportive of us,” Bond said. “We always try to do one big project a year to invest in the community.”
Bond said that there will eventually be an information plaque installed alongside the building for mural gazers, and she hopes someone in the community will be able to identify the miner in the original photo from which the mural was conceptualized.
“If someone in the community has any sort of idea, I’m sure it’s got to be a relative,” she said.
To view the original photo online, visit the BC Archives website.