The Gimli Harbour area is protected with an unsightly, drab grey 977 foot long by six foot high cement wall. The huge undertaking to transform this structure with colourful works of art that interpret the stories and history of the Interlake area began in 1997. Thousands of volunteer hours at the hands of the Gimli Art Club artists has entertained tourists through the years. Visitors to the structure area enjoy interaction and conversations about the artist’s work while they go through the summer months caretaking the Seawall Gallery. Challenged by the lake waters and local climate it is a constant, ongoing effort to keep the art work in good condition.
Artists from the Club developed their individual murals, presented them to a committee of peers, researched the historical significance and painted the first three murals while the residents and tourists together watched with excited anticipation. The original first three murals will never change in content or location upon the wall as they are the footprint to the history of Gimli and its early settlers who were instrumental in the growth of our unique community. The continuing addition of new murals and restorations undergo the same principles today.
This now popular tourist attraction has repeat visitors from around the world. The Gallery is unique as it is built over water, withstanding harsh elements of our Manitoba climate. Only volunteer artists that are members of the Gimli Art Club restore or paint new murals on this structure.
The original 36 murals have expanded to 72…some changing with the addition of new murals in spaces where the old weatherworn have been replaced with new…allowing an ever changing subject matter. Restoration on others is an ongoing process at all times, weather permitting, in the summer months.
The Gimli Seawall Murals:
BY Chairperson Barbara Gluck
© 2012 Gimli Art Club Inc.
The GIMLI SEAWALL GALLERY Book was published in the fall of 2009 for the Club’s 40th Anniversary. This was in response to an ever growing request of visitors to have the histories and stories from the original artists of their Seawall Murals. Copies of this book can be obtained at the Gallery of the Gimli Art Club, Harbourfront location, by contacting us through the website or by calling 204-642-8217.
Several murals have been restored by a volunteer group of Gimli Art Club members and weather permitting more restoration work will continue.
Two new murals have been completed by members Bart Barteaux and Merryl-Lee Mercier.
It is the plan to continue to restore and add new murals in the following years.
Note: A team of restorers work on small areas of paint “wear and tear” throughout the summer as required.
The Icelandic Woman Spinning by Dorothy Heaman
In 2009 the decision was made to do the first full restoration by another artist of a favourite mural on the Seawall. Much care and thought was put into the way this would be handled.
It is the mandate of the Seawall Committee to keep the original content and appearance of the mural as the artist intended.
Because each artist has a very distinct style, enlisting the help of another artist to replicate a mural is difficult for all involved. Many, many hours of volunteer work by artists are given to a mural until completion. The visitors to the Seawall also like to see changes and work evolving, it holds their interest, and they have their favourites for sure.
Julia Penny known for her portraiture art agreed to a full restoration of the mural as she loved the subject. Her only request was the freedom to paint it how she wanted to interpret the subject, but keep the image as close to the original artists style as possible.
Above, on the left, you will see the original by Dorothy, and to the right, the restoration by Julia. All of the original images are acknowledged and kept for all times in the publication of the Seawall Gallery Book.
The Icelandic Woman Spinning:
The Gimli Seawall Gallery Book: