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Check out JMSB's new sustainable selfie stairwell art

Inspired by First Nations traditions, INDI student Cheryl Gladu invites Concordians to put themselves in the picture
July 28, 2015

Cheryl Gladu's #MBGenerations at the John Molson School of Business Cheryl Gladu's mural is a Generation Y-style nod to Anishinaabe artist Norvel Morrisseau.

Calling all sustainability buffs, stair climbers and aspiring Kim Kardashians — Concordia's David O'Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise (DOCSE) has launched the latest work in its Be Moved By Art series.

The clincher? Its creator Cheryl Gladu wants you to snap a selfie in front of it.

DOCSE's Be Moved By Art project aims to encourage fitness among John Molson School of Business (JMSB) Building occupants by decorating some of its unheralded corners. As former program coordinator David Lank explained at the time of the launch, “The idea is to get people using the stairs and to have them be inspired while doing so.”

“#MBGenerations,” Gladu's addition to the landing between the 7th and 8th floor in the JMSB Building's south stairwell, was inspired by a concept that harks back to Iroquois tradition.

She studies design, business and fine arts in Concordia’s interdisciplinary Individualized Program (INDI): “I've been doing research in sustainable behaviour change, with an interest in how art and design might facilitate reflection and action on issues related to sustainability.”

We asked for her thoughts on the #MBGenerations mural.

"Seven-span" selfies: Cheryl Gladu and #MBGenerations

#MBGenerations draws from many traditions, but was designed to speak to the current generation in particular.

There is a certain (hopefully respectful) bastardization of different cultures present in this work. The colours and graphic orientation is pulled directly from the work of ᐅᓵᐚᐱᐦᑯᐱᓀᐦᓯ (Copper Thunderbird/Norvel Morrisseau), an Anishinaabe man born in Ontario, in the same neck of the woods as myself. He’s often called “The Picasso of the North.”

The visual concept of #MBGenerations comes from the dictate to have a skin thickness of seven spans (e.g. seven generations) in the great Constitution of the Iroquois Nations, which governed the people of Montreal before there was such a place and, to a certain extent, ever since. This piece is Metis, like many of us.

The name of the piece — containing a hashtag — is meant to encourage the viewer to place themselves at the centre of the piece, so they might capture an image of themselves with a seven-span skin of many colours and imagine themselves connected to other times … or just to take a colourful selfie, however it might turn out.

Keen to snap a “seven-span” selfie? #MBGenerations by Cheryl Gladu is located on the landing between the 7th and 8th floor in the south stairwell of the John Molson School of Business (MB) Building (1450 Guy St.) on the Sir George Williams Campus.

Find out more about the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise (DOCSE)’s Be Moved By Art series.

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