The Sinai Mural is complete – and artist Jacquie Comrie’s creation ColourMedicine is a sight to behold. The seven-story mural was painted on the parking structure across from Mount Sinai Hospital on Murray Street, beautifying the view for patients, staff, and the community.
The mural is a partnership between Sinai Health and the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto (StART) program. Connected to the themes of health and wellness, the mural design was chosen from four finalists -- all local artists. In addition to beautifying the view, the mural is an innovative fundraiser that lets art lovers build a digital version of the mural, brick by brick.
It is estimated that more than 6 million people live with a mental health condition or illness in Canada.The COVID pandemic has sadly magnified a global mental health crisis contributing to a rise in anxiety, depression and stress since the onset of the pandemic. Accessing mental health care has also been challenging for many. Colour is the universal language of emotions and its psychology has been proven beneficial to the human mind and body. Because mental affects us all, through this work my goal is to create an opportunity for social impact in this difficult time, for audiences at large to experience colour as a much needed tool of hope, social and personal healing. Colour Medicine aims to bring comfort, promote emotional reflection, mindfulness and mental wellbeing. This is about supporting care of the community and Toronto at large while holding space for mental reset, elevation and colour therapy for everyone.
As someone who has struggle with depression and anxiety for many years this project is deeply personal and special, as colour has served as a tool for my own personal healing and wellbeing. Through this work, my objective is to create an intentional space of colour that encourages emotional reflection and mindfulness, utilizing colour vibrancy as a tool for healing that can set a positive tone for people entering the hospital, or in transit. Colour Medicine aims to provide visual comfort and bring hope through a therapeutic approach to colour. This project is about inclusivity because mental health is inclusive. It will affect us all at some point in our lives and does not discriminate.
Jacquie Comrie Colour. Movement. Mental Health Jacquie Comrie is a multidisciplinary Toronto-based artist and mental health advocate.Whether as large scale public art installations, murals on buildings, streetcars, canvases, or as digital installations, her body of work is a dynamic study of colour as a universal language of human emotion. With mental health issues on the rise across the globe, her work intentionally utilizes colour, its psychology and therapeutic effects on the body and mind, as a powerful tool for social impact, aiming to create spaces of colour therapy for everyone.
Little by little, a little becomes a lot. This mural pays tribute to the loving and healing relationship humans have with plants. The design was inspired through a process of reconnecting with my own ancestral Jewish knowledge lost during and after World War II. Strawberries grew abundantly in the forests and meadows surrounding Ashkenazi villages and were regularly found in the materia medica of traditional Ashkenazi herbal healers. This mural honours the four Ashkenazi Jewish women dedicated to healing who founded Mt Sinai Hospital in 1923. Like Mrs. Cohn, Miller, Spiegel and Adler, these loving strawberries offer a gift of well-being to the community.
The strawberry, the first fruit of summer, beautifully represents the hospital’s purpose of caring, creating possibilities and offering hope. The lush red berries and beautiful white flowers are revered in many cultures for their healing properties; they speak of the shared human appreciation of plant medicine. Plants don’t discriminate and offer support to everyone who seeks and is open to their medicine. Small gestures, like the repeating heart pixel, repeated enough times have a major impact. Echoing this theme, the many contributions of each member of the Sinai Health community builds a powerful healing environment that exudes an abundance of love.
Bareket is a muralist, community engaged artist, curator, frequent collaborator and eternal optimist. Her practice is motivated by a desire to spread joy, cultivate gratitude, celebrate the power of kindness and compassion, and support the growth of inclusive and connected communities. She passionately creates art that aesthetically and psychologically brightens environments.
I designed my piece using specific plants to symbolize healing and resilience, to reflect rehabilitation and compassionate care at Mount Sinai. The plants include freesia, which represents trust, the eglantine rose which symbolizes a wound to heal, and the thistle which means overcoming adversity. The largest flower I have designed is the lily, signifying devotion and rebirth. People are represented in this mural to remind us of the diverse community that is welcomed into the hospital’s doors. This mural will bring beauty, positivity and comfort to patients, staff and visitors with its calming colour palette and illustrative design.
Plants help us to thrive, as do the caring hospital staff who provide quality service every day. I depicted faces among the flowers to show that we are not only connected in our humanity, but also to a bigger picture as a part of nature. Showcasing diverse plants and people using comforting and inviting complimentary colours, my aim is to make any visitor to Mount Sinai feel included and welcome. I believe that medical innovations have the aim of improving quality of life, and at the root of life is nature.
Freelance illustrator, mural painter, and artist living in Toronto Canada, Andrea's work is inspired by feelings, symbols, purpose, and our relationship to the natural world. An OCAD University graduate, Andrea's illustration clients include Second Cup, Today's Parent Magazine, and Chatelaine Magazine and has painted murals all over the world. In Toronto, Andrea worked with organizations StART, STEPS, and Bell Box Murals.
Our design illustrates the celebration of the Three Sisters. Indigenous knowledge of companion planting. Together these plants - corn, beans, and squash grow in balance and harmony. Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. Beans fix nitrogen on their roots, improving the overall fertility of the plot. Bean vines also help stabilize the corn plants, making them less vulnerable to blowing over in the wind. Shallow-rooted squash vines become a living mulch, shading emerging weeds and preventing soil moisture from evaporating, thereby improving the overall crops’ chances of survival in dry years.
These concepts parallel the values and offerings of Mount Sinai Health: Support, sustainability, inclusivity, and the community's well-being. The three women portrayed in our concept are three trailblazing Canadian doctors:
Jacquie Comrie, a multidisciplinary Toronto-based artist and mental health advocate, was selected out of four shortlisted local artists by a panel after extensive staff and community consultations. Centered on the psychology of colour, Comrie’s design, entitled ColourMedicine, is meant to inspire healing for those grappling with mental health issues.
An estimated six million people live with a mental health condition or illness in Canada. The goal of the mural is to raise funds for key hospital initiatives, while also having a positive impact on Sinai Health patients, staff and community.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has sadly magnified a global mental health crisis contributing to a rise in anxiety, depression and stress since the onset of the pandemic,” Comrie said. “Colour is the universal language of emotions and its psychology has been proven beneficial to the human mind and body.”
Donations to the Sinai Mural will support Sinai Health’s programs that improve care for vulnerable and marginalized communities.