To celebrate the UN’s International Day of Peace
this year, we're throwing a party and launching an all-ages colouring book in Calgary. "Colouring Peace in Calgary" is a welcoming gift for Syrian newcomers. It features city landmarks and natural areas, with captions in Blackfoot, Arabic and English. Blackfoot is the language of the Treaty Seven peoples. In all, 30 Calgary artists donated their drawings.
Conceived by a small art group at Calgary’s Hillhurst United Church, the book will offer people a quiet place to add their own colour to the city. Because the Blackfoot language is introduced, newcomers are helped to understand that they have arrived in Treaty Seven territory — a fact many previous settlers didnʼt recognize.
Artists happily answered the call for submissions, Mayor Nenshi wrote an enthusiastic endorsement, Imam Mohamed Mahmoud, Elders Randy Bottle and Anita Eaglebear generously provided translations; composer Ruth Lomenda, arranger Nancy Chegus and I created a song. With hundreds of bookstores spread across the country, featuring computer-generated colouring books of every description, this one — drawn by the willing hands of professionals and amateurs, children and adults — offers something quite different. It was a joy for me to coordinate.