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Welland's Murals:
8. New World

About the Mural
New World by Bas Degroot, Winger, Ontario. Constructed in 1990 at 77 Division Street (Market Square), 80' by 20'. This outstanding brick mosaic mural is the Festival of Arts only non-painted mural. It contains almost 12,000 bricks of seven colours. The artist first completed a plan, which identified the position and colour of every brick.

The Artist's Interpretation
"The theme is reminiscent of Dvorak's 'New World Symphony,' and indeed that is one of the possible interpretations of this mosaic. Nevertheless, my main intention has been of a more spiritual nature. I attempted to visualize our trek towards, and our expectation of, a real new world yet to come. I hope the work will be functional and inspiring in many ways."

"Having read my comments with regard to the mural for the library (see Canal Construction), one can understand my feelings of satisfaction that this time I did not have to climb a scaffolding myself. All bricks and parts of bricks are natural and had been designed and planned beforehand. The final stage of this mosaic was the work of bricklayers, who conscientiously laid and attached every brick in its planned position. As far as I know, for now this work is the only one of its kind in Canada."

Your Virtual Guide's Comments
This is one of the more unusual murals, because of its somewhat nebulous message and its unique medium. Degroot's omnipresent doves reinforce the notion of hope implicit in the work. Planning the work brick by brick must have been a monumental task and it speaks highly of Degroot's dedication to his calling. 

About the Artist: Bas Degroot, Winger, Ontario
Bas Degroot was born in the Netherlands and arrived in Canada in March 1988. He studied visual arts and futurism at university and as a private student. He is known in Europe for his huge brick murals and glass mosaics. As well as his large-scale outdoor art, Bas works on miniatures and has written eight books and numerous articles, in Dutch mainly about futurism. He practices art in a versatile way: teaching private, secondary and college students, illustrating magazines and books, designing for stained glass and producing monumental works of art for building structures and squares (in 25 Dutch cities, also Welland, Niagara Falls and Waterloo).

Bas has about 200 North American illustrations published in newspapers and various magazines. He has created about 20 stained glass designs for the Luxfer Studios in Concord, Ontario. Several of these have been executed for churches around the province. His largest outdoor projects are mosaics in brick relief, measuring up to 1,000 square metres. In Europe, he designed his works in the studio and others did the actual construction.

Bas Degroot is now committed to creating and developing authentic Christian art in Canada. Current projects include designs for two Niagara churches and a Christian school.

The Festival of Arts gave him his first opportunity to tackle an exterior painted mural, which will always commemorate his new beginning in a new country. "It's my first Canadian work," he noted. "It's my start."

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