To Break Down the Walls of Violence, We Painted a Wall of Hope
Over the last several months, we have been quietly working on an exciting project, unlike anything we’ve done before at YWCA Metro Vancouver. In partnership with renowned artist Ola Volo, we are thrilled to unveil a 42-foot mural at the corner of Burrard St and Melville Ave.
The Wall for Women is a permanent gift to the community that depicts the strength of women and shines light on the “shadow pandemic” of intimate partner violence. What’s more, it’s a first-of-its-kind for Vancouver, the mural has QR codes embedded in the design. When you take a photo with your phone, you’ll see statistics about intimate partner violence, and have the option to donate to our newest housing project supporting women who have experienced violence.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence against self-identifying women has increased as much as 20-30% in parts of the country and kills a woman every six days.
The mural draws upon Ola’s Kazakh heritage and is full of symbols: the woman rises with newfound strength, a bird of hope rests on her shoulder and her gaze is fixed on the horizon to remind us all of the resilience of women.
“I have painted a lot of murals, but this was the first time integrating QR codes within my art, said Ola. “I loved the challenge and the message is so powerful. I was honoured to help the YWCA bring the idea to life and to be able to directly help the cause with my work.”
We hope that this striking mural raises awareness across the region and inspires people to support our services that directly serve women leaving violence. We also hope that anyone who faces violence in their lives finds a sense of hope and strength in this stunning piece of art.
The next time you are downtown, please stop to take in the mural, and snap a picture of it! Any gift you give through the Wall for Women goes toward supporting and housing women leaving violence.
"Coming onto this project, I thought a lot about what it takes to leave a domestic violence situation. It made me think of a powerful, brave queen who grants herself love and opportunities to thrive. Crown held high, she’s looking forward to the future, protecting the fragile bird companion on her shoulder, and rising above the snake that’s trying to hold her down.
I wanted the woman in this artwork to claim her confidence and her power back by taking up space. She isn’t small or fading into the background. She’s front and centre, and commands the attention she deserves – even in the busy streets of downtown Vancouver."
- The use of fire symbolizes power, bravery, drive, while the eyes are on alert as she looks out for herself and her fragile bird.
- The hearts reflect the relationships, acknowledging her past.
- The stars, seen on her crown and in the universe in her hair, symbolize looking ahead, having faith, and moving forward.
Patterns and colours:
- The patterns and colours are inspired by folk art from my Eastern European background.
YWCA Metro Vancouver provides practical and emotional support for self-identifying women who are experiencing violence or abuse in an intimate relationship. Learn more.