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90-foot art mural beautifies Magnetawan retaining wall

 The mural is called Our River Over Time, and the images run left to right in terms of history
20211129 magnetawan mural
Nomi Drory works on the 90-foot concrete retaining wall by the locks of the Magnetawan River. The completed work features the water vessels that used the river system from the 1800s to the present.

The retaining wall that lies just below the locks of the Magnetawan River in Magnetawan is now a 90-foot art mural.

 Artist Nomi Drory recently completed the mural, which depicts Magnetawan's water history dating back to the 1800s.

 The artwork is part of a project approved earlier this year by council as part of a downtown beautification program.

 Drory has extensive experience with various art platforms and was chosen to carry out the work.

 Drory first cleaned the retaining wall before applying a concrete sealer and then began painting the various images with outdoor latex paint before applying a final sealer so the finished piece can withstand the weather over the years.

 The mural is called Our River Over Time, and the images run left to right in terms of history.

 “The images are a timeline of the different vessels that passed on the water,” Drory said.

 “It starts with a canoe on the far left to represent the Indigenous people of the time.”

 Images of the various steamships that crossed the river start to appear across the length of the retaining wall.

 Drory also managed to incorporate the Canadian Shield in the mural in addition to the various types of plant growth and trees that surrounded the area, as well as a lighthouse.

 Drory also used a lot of turquoise to capture the sky and water colours.

 Before embarking on the actual painting, Drory researched the history of the Magnetawan River at the local library and also did some online research.

 “But I also talked to the local people to get a better understanding of the Magnetawan River,” she said.

 Drory began working on the mural in September, with the goal of finishing it before the weather turned colder and wetter.

 “I worked on it on and off because of the rain,” she said.

 “I finished on time but it definitely was a concern.”

 Drory moved to Magnetawan from Toronto last December, so this would have been her first autumn and she wasn't sure what kind of weather to expect.

 “But I had to finish on time so there was no time for doubting,” Drory said.

 On the days she was painting, people would come up and ask about the project and compliment her work.

 “They stopped by a lot and I was humbled,” she said.

 “Town council was also very positive about the work. They really liked it.”

 Drory is originally from Bolivia but was raised in Israel.

 She moved to Canada as an adult and one of those Canadian communities where she lived was Toronto until she relocated to Magnetawan.

 She has sculpted in the past but most of her work deals with paintings and drawings.

 The retaining wall mural is her longest mural artwork.

 She's painted images on large canvas and boards in the past but nothing approaching the 90-foot wall.

 If council continues to include artwork as part of the municipality’s beautification project in the future, Drory says she will apply again to create another piece of art for the community and its residents.

 The current project was made possible through a partnership with Magnetawan and the Ontario government.

 The cost of the project was about $5,400, with the province paying for 30 per cent through its Regional Economic Development (RED) program and the municipality paying the remainder.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.