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Art worth bragging about

28-Jun-2022

“This is the only graffiti you’ll see in a police station”

Edmonton Police Service (EPS) employees, citizens, and Community Safety and Well-being Bureau (CSWB) clients will now be greeted by an awe-inspiring mural on the second floor of Police Headquarters.

Last year, EPS Detective Shane Faulkner was speaking with Metis artist, Jordoh, and as they began talking about art, Jordoh shared his personal story of adversity, resilience, and success. He had grown up in an impoverished home and his mother suffered from addictions. As a youth, Jordoh would take part in illegal graffiti, and unfortunately, later found himself entrenched in gang activity. He lived a high-risk lifestyle which led him into a youth detention centre after an armed robbery in Yorkton. This experience would change his life forever, as the Correctional Officers discovered his artistic talents and helped organize an exhibit at a local gallery for his artwork. This show of support revealed to Jordoh that this could be a career and it inevitably empowered him to complete high school with honours, and make a viable, successful career as a professional artist.

Jordoh’s story resonated with Shane to the point where he initiated an internal request to commission Jordoh to paint a street mural at the entrance in EPS’ CSWB office.

The artwork is guided by the spirits of humility (represented by the bear); connection (represented by the eagle); kindness (represented by the deer); and success (represented by the wolf) and portrays the powerful message that we can all embrace community, turn a new leaf, and grow.

On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, this unique art installation was unveiled to a crowd of EPS employees, including Chief Operations Officer Enyinnah Okere, Integrated Community Safety Division Superintendent Scott Jones, Diversion and Desistance Branch Inspector Rob Gill, and EPS’ Indigenous Relations Coordinator Christie Pace who initiated a smudging and led a prayer.

At this event, Jordoh explained that he chose to complete this large, intricate mural, “so it could also grow me”. After explaining the other meanings behind each animal, the Bear representing family, the Eagle as the connection to the Creator, a Deer for intuition to make decisions, and the Wolf for success and loyalty, he laughed and said, “This is the only graffiti you’ll see in a police station. It’s a pretty great brag.”

Respects and praises were shared with Jordoh for his passion, creativity, and innovation, “The art speaks for itself. It’s beautiful and strikes me every time I walk in here,” COO Okere said. “This is important to our organization. It’s a visual representation of where we are trying to go as a Service. Thank you for giving us something to look to as we grow.”

“There is a vulnerability to share your art,” Superintendent Jones expressed. “It’s remarkable and it makes everyone feel better about coming into work.”

After hearing Jordoh’s passion for inspiring youth as a way to return the favour that the Correctional Officers in Yorkton had done for him, Detective Faulkner also reached out to contacts within Edmonton’s youth agencies to propose Jordoh as a youth mentor for their clients. The YMCA was excited about this creative opportunity for their youth, and Jordoh has been mentoring ever since! After the mural ceremony, Inspector Gill offered additional space in their offices to showcase the artwork created by the youth Jordoh is mentoring. We hope to see more of our walls adorned by the works of Edmonton’s inspiring community members.

More about the artist:

Jordoh is a Metis Graffiti Artist of Cree (Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation) and German descent, who grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Jordoh’s childhood was impacted by addictions and divorce, which led him down a path of illegal graffiti, gangs, and crime.  Jordoh’s life changed while in custody at Orcadia Youth Residence when his Correctional Officers helped get his art shown in a local gallery.  Once Jordoh sold a painting, and he realized his art could be a business, his life was changed forever…You can see more of his art at graffitisalad.com.