Homeless in Vancouver: South Granville’s second mural of 2017 is for the birds

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      As I write, a painted mural is taking shape on the backside of 2705 Granville Street, which is located in the alley on the west side of Granville, at the southwest intersection with West 11th Avenue.

      The mural, by James Knight, takes up the entire west side of the building and part of the south side as well.

      The subject appears to be those soiled doves of South Granville, the pigeons.

      Birds of a feather…

      The south side portion of James Knight’s mural seen on July 20th.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      The long, west side of the unfinished mural depicts what looks like a sketchy implosion of birds, surrounded by a loose flurry of similarly feathered friends. The smaller, south side portion shows part of a person sitting comfortably in a wooden Adirondack chair with a sack at their feet.

      A panoramic view of the west side face of the mural-in-progress from July 20th.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      All in all, I feel reasonably confident in saying that the subject of the mural is someone sitting and feeding pigeons.

      With Knight’s mural at West 11th Avenue, the South Granville Business Improvement Association (SGBIA) has now commissioned and largely funded (out of its special BIA tax levy) a total four murals on buildings along the South Granville shopping strip—two last year and two this year.

      This year’s other mural, by Ed Spence, was completed in June on the southeast corner of Granville Street and West 14th Avenue.

      So far the South Granville murals all share some thematic connection to the shopping high street:

      • The West 13th Avenue mural by Ola Vola—the historic connection of its location with horses,
      • The West 14th Avenue mural by Ed Spence—the fabrics sold in South Granville Stores.
      • The West 7th Avenue mural by Milan Basic—the art of Kristofir Dean, to be found in the gallery that the mural is painted on.

      That leaves the new West 11th Avenue mural by James Knight.

      Sitting on a bench and feeding the pigeons is very much a South Granville activity but I’m surprised that Knight is depicting it as being done from an Adirondack chair.

      The SGBIA has, after all, gone to some lengths to have its own distinctive, black-enamelled street benches—one or two every block, in fact.

      It only makes sense then that a South Granville mural depicting the apparent feeding of South Granville pigeons should depict it being done from the comfort of one of the South Granville BIA’s fancy signature benches, rather than just any old chair.

      After all, I don’t think these murals are just art for art’s sake. They’re being created for the glory of the South Granville shopping area, as much as anything else, aren’t they?

      If so, Knight’s mural probably shouldn’t include anything that suggests staying at home in one’s back yard—that, as far as the South Granville Business Improvement Association is concerned, really would be for the birds.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. Follow Stanley on Twitter at @sqwabb.