The infamous Toronto sign has been redesigned in honour of UNESCO’s International Decade of Indigenous Languages.
Joseph Sagaj, the artist who designed the new wrap, wanted to focus on the rights of Indigenous speakers worldwide, and unveiled the remarkable design at Nathan Phillips Square ahead of this year’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“Language is the essence and spirit of my identity and culture. However, it is not exclusive to the spoken word in the ways of storytelling I grew up hearing and speaking in my community,” said Sagaj in a press release. “My art renderings and what is featured here in the Toronto sign is a ‘glimpse’ of expressions of these ways and reflection of values.”
Sagaj, who is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) of the Sturgeon Clam from the remote community of Neskantaga in Northern Ontario, always felt the desire to share his ancestry and heritage through art, and his vision is now on full display in the heart of the city until Fall 2023.
“The City recognizes the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, focusing on the preservation, revitalization and promotion of Indigenous languages,” said the press release.
The design features beautiful artwork and Indigenous scripture along the sides of the letters, masterfully brought together with vibrant colours and cultural imagery.
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On Friday, September 30, the City of Toronto joins the rest of Canada to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and encourages residents to “commit to the truth, reconciliation and justice process with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.”
Any photographs taken of the Toronto Sign can be shared with the hashtag #TOsign, and more information about the wrap design is available here.
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