October 27, 2022
Stephenville / St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
A new art installment in the Wellness Room of the Bay St. George RCMP Detachment reflects the Indigenous culture of the area and also represents tranquility and balance. District Commander Staff Sergeant Troy Bennett commissioned local Mi'kmaq artist Marcus Gosse to create a piece for the Wellness Room, which provides a space for employees to rest and reflect as needed.
"The work of policing can be intense and difficult; having this wellness space for our employees supports them when they need to step away for a few moments," said Staff Sergeant Bennett. "The incredible art created by Marcus reflects the culture of many area residents but also of eight of our Detachment employees who are Indigenous. The Wellness Room also contains a smudge bowl and medicines for those who wish to partake in a cleanse during work hours."
The Peace (Wantaqo'ti) Mural is a depiction of a bear (muin), a salmon (plamu) and the Mi'kmaq Star, all representative of the Bay St. George area. The bear and salmon soak in the sun, embracing the beauty, calmness, tranquility and harmony in their environment. The eight-pointed star honours all cultures and is an important Mi'kmaq symbol. See the Backgrounder below for further information.
"I was honoured to be asked to create art for the RCMP Detachment here in Bay St. George," said Marcus Gosse. "The design of the Peace (Wantaqo'ti) Mural is very meaningful and I hope it supports the wellness of the police officers and other RCMP employees who use the wellness space. Msit No'kmaq - All my relations. We are all connected."
Marcus Gosse also created a piece of art for the RCMP NL Headquarters in St. John's, which was unveiled during an event on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. The acrylic painting on canvas, entitled "Courage – Mlkikno'ti" will be displayed proudly near the front entry of Headquarters, welcoming all who enter the building. The artist describes the painting as "… two bears reflecting not only physically but spiritually. In Indigenous Culture, the bear (muin) symbolizes strength, courage, protection, patience, and other admirable traits. This RCMP painting titled 'Courage' displays bears representing police officers from coast-to-coast working to protect the environment and keep it safe for everyone."
See two backgrounders below for additional information about the artwork that Marcus Gosse has created.
Learn more about RCMP NL's commitment to building and maintaining strong relationships with the Indigenous Peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Strategic Communications and Media Relations Unit
BACKGROUNDER: The Peace (Wantaqo'ti) Mural
Artist: Marcus Gosse
Title: "The Peace(Wantaqo'ti) Mural"
Medium: Acrylic on Wall(Mural)
Size: 5' feet by 5' feet
Date Completed: 2022
Description: This mural titled "The Peace(Wantaqo'ti) Mural" displays a bear(muin) and a salmon(plamu) embracing the beauty, calmness, tranquility and harmony in their environment. They are soaking in the sun, calming their soul, and re-balancing their spirit.
Both the bear and the salmon display Mi'kmaq double curve designs on each side of the Mi'kmaq Star which represent spiritual balance; spiritual growth; cultural connectedness; and being in a state of Zen (feeling peaceful and relaxed).
The Eight-Pointed 'Mi'kmaq Star' is also added which is a common trademark in Marcus Gosse's paintings. His stars are often seen painted in four different colours: red, black, white and yellow. These four colours together represent harmony and unity between all people. The Mi'kmaq Star honors all cultures. It is a 'petroglyph', or, design carved into stone. This Mi'kmaq Eight-Pointed Star petroglyph symbol is very important to the Mi'kmaq. It is believed that this star petroglyph is over 500 years old. One teaching states that the eight-point Mi'kmaq Star is believed to be an updated version of the seven-point star; which the Mi'kmaq used to represent the seven districts of their nation. The Mi'kmaq Nation grew to eight districts with the addition of Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland). The Mi'kmaq updated the star to eight-points to welcome their brothers and sisters from Newfoundland.
The bear, salmon and the sun have been painted with purple to symbolize anti-violence and spiritual peace. The yellow in the animals displays the spiritual light within their soul. Both the bear(muin) and salmon(plamu) are showing us that every living thing has its rightful place; and in this rightful place it becomes beautiful.
BACKGROUNDER: "Courage - Mlkikno'ti" Painting on Canvas
Artist : Marcus Gosse, Ala'suinu-"Traveller"
Title: "Courage - Mlkikno'ti"
Location: RCMP Headquarters, St. John's, NL
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 4' feet (length) x 3' feet (height)
Date Completed: October 2022
Description: This painting titled "Courage" ("Mlkikno'ti") displays two bears reflecting not only physically, but, spiritually. In Indigenous Culture, the bear(muin) symbolizes strength, courage, protection, patience, and other admirable traits. This RCMP painting titled "Courage" displays bears representing police officers from coast-to-coast working to protect the environment and keep it safe for everyone.
The painting displays the Mi'kmaq Eight-Pointed Star, double curve designs, and appliqué patterns. The Mi'kmaq Star displays unity amongst all the cultures of the world. The double curve designs are the life cycle of a human, or, living thing. The curve on the left represents youth; the centre middle age; and the curve on the right represents becoming a senior or Elder. The appliqué patterns are commonly found on traditional women's peaked hats and men's long coats. These symbols together, represent spiritual balance, unity, embracing nature, and our community.
The bears are looking at their reflection, and are examining the beauty of their soul, and their place in the environment. The bears are embracing the cultural beauty of the land, and are realizing their responsibility to their community. The bears are showing us that we are not by ourselves. We are all connected to our cultures, communities and each other. The bear reminds us to embrace the spirit of the land, explore our environment, and to have the strength and courage to protect our environment. Msit No'kmaq (All My Relations-We Are All Connected).