NE public art projects

Northeast public art initiative

There is a lack of public art in northeast Calgary compared to other quadrants. This initiative seeks to increase public art opportunities in northeast Calgary that:

  • Support local artists and businesses
  • Enhance our northeast neighbourhoods
  • Reflect the people who live in the communities where the art is located

Inspire the artistic concepts

Local artists are gearing up to produce a bench, a picnic table and a bike rack for northeast Calgary, and they need your ideas to inspire their creative designs.

Provide your input by:

  • Visiting from July 7 to July 28 to offer your thoughts online.
  • Attending in-person events with the artists.

    • July 16 from 1 to 4 p.m.
      at Village Square Leisure Centre
      with Day Pajarillo (bench artist) and Vikram Johal (bike rack artist), Samuel Obadero (documentary film maker)
    • July 18 from 3 to 6 p.m.
      at Whitehorn LRT station
      with Day Pajarillo (bench artist), Samuel Obadero (documentary film maker)
    • July 20 from 1 to 4 p.m.
      at Saddletowne Library with Apiow Akwai (picnic table artist), Samuel Obadero (documentary film maker)
    • July 23 from 12 to 3 p.m.
      at Genesis Centre
      with Vikram Johal (bike rack artist), Samuel Obadero (documentary film maker)

Events are free. RSVP is not required.

About the initiative

This exciting initiative will bring several public art projects to Calgary’s northeast communities.

It will build amazing spaces for people to come together and provide opportunities for artists to create pieces in the form of bike racks, benches, picnic tables, mini-galleries, banners, sculptures and community events.

A documentary will also be produced that will feature artists hired, community members, Indigenous Elders and Elders from culturally diverse groups in northeast communities.

In 2021 we asked for your ideas on what kind of public art should be created, where it should be located and what stories the public art should tell. Your thoughtful contributions helped us to build the overall project plan and issue artist calls.

We’ve now hired artists for the first three projects and are again seeking your input on what you’d like to see them create. What you tell us in this phase of engagement will help inform the artists’ concepts for a bench, bike rack and picnic table.

The call for artists to create a sculpture for Genesis Centre is now closed. Additional calls for artists will be announced on our opportunities for artists page and in our monthly public art newsletter.

Featured artists

Local artists with close ties to northeast Calgary have been selected to create the first three functional public art projects. Each of these artists brings a unique perspective and is committed to working with community members to create meaningful artworks. 

Apiow Akwai

Apiow Akwai is an emerging visual artist based in Calgary. She discovered her passion for arts at the age of six. What started as a creative and emotional outlet led to her deep respect and appreciation for the arts.

Her work primarily consists of portraits, landscape, and human figures that are created in oils and acrylics on canvas. Apiow uses deliberate compositions and symbolism to shed light on the dark and beautiful chaos of emotions that is intentionally portrayed across all her work. The use of art therapy and the correlation between mental health and self discovery are tools Apiow uses as inspiration when creating a new body of work.

Day Pajarillo

Day Pajarillo is a Filipino immigrant who arrived in Canada in 2008 as a food service worker.

Day is a visual artist, fashion designer and educator who took a year of an architectural course at the Far Eastern University Manila in 1985 and a fashion design course at Slim’s Fashion and Arts School in Makati, Philippines in 1986. Day graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, UST in Manila with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and a Painting major in 1992.

She also attended the advanced fashion design class in 2001, held by the late Danilo Franco, a well-known celebrity fashion designer in the Philippines. Her interests are human figures and movements, facial expressions, everyday life, history of arts, cultural arts and dances of the world.

“My current practice is modern art, contemporary painting, leaning to impressionism and cubism with people as my main subject. I am happy when I paint human figures, movements and portraits. There is an infinite availability of subjects to paint in different approaches, which makes it more interesting when I just let my imagination guide me and be surprised with the outcome.” 

Samuel Obadero

Samuel Obadero's journey into the arts began in theatre in Lagos, Nigeria, where he was born. As both an actor and stage director, he directed several plays and performed on many stages in Nigeria before immigrating to Canada in 2018.

He is also a multi-award winning photographer and one of his proudest moments was winning the Art Champion award at The City of Calgary's Mayor's Launch in 2019. He achieved a life goal when he opened Calgary's first Black-owned photography studio, where he now mentors other young artists.

With his first degree in Information Technology, Samuel helped develop the IT infrastructure at the largest YMCA in the world, but art has always been close to his heart.

The Northeast Public Art project will be documented by Samuel, the first artist hired under the program. He will be documenting the artists, their artwork, community involvement, and the locations in northeast Calgary where the artwork will be placed.

Vikram Johal

Vikram Johal has a diverse background in creating through different mediums including video production, sound engineering, fashion, and graphic design. His focus is predominantly on experiential design using the combination of these mediums.

Vikram holds a Masters in Architecture from the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape and an undergraduate degree in Biomechanics from the University of Calgary. Vikram’s passions include Muay Thai in which he has trained since the age of 11 and has competed in both locally and internationally.

"Being born and raised here in NE Calgary, my connection to this part of this city runs deep. I have always been a creative that looks for different ways to connect emotionally as humans through art and expression. I am beyond excited for the opportunity to use my knowledge and experience in architecture and design to help tell the stories of our communities in an authentic way."