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OCAD U grads Shary Boyle and Rajni Perera collaborate on new mural

A photo of Rajni Perera (left) and Shary Boyle (right) wearing jumpsuits as they paint a mural with ceramic pots and greenery.

Image Credit: OCAD U graduates, Rajni Perera and Shary Boyle stand in front of their mural at Inspirations Studio. Photo by Colin Medley.

OCAD U grads Shary Boyle and Rajni Perera collaborate on new mural

Esteemed OCAD U alumnae, Shary Boyle and Rajni Perera’s recent collaboration has resulted in a 15-foot mural that marks the reopening of Inspirations Studio. 

Together, the two internationally exhibited artists offered their time and talent to adorn a large wall at the organization's new location on Toronto's Church St. in advance of their reopening on October 26, 2021.  

"We are so grateful that two of Canada's most respected contemporary artists are collaborating and volunteering to create a mural in our new studio. This is a truly beautiful gift that will endure. It is such a lovely way to celebrate our reopening and to welcome our members back to work," says Inspiration Studio’s director, Gudrun Olafsdottir. 

Inspirations Studio is a ceramics workspace and storefront that supports low-income women who have been impacted by poverty, homelessness, trauma and displacement. 

“It's been my honour and pleasure to serve Inspirations Studio. I would like this to be just the beginning of my involvement with this wonderful enterprise. We must follow the studio's example and consider how we can be of service to others, especially those who need a helping hand,” says Perera of the project, who has been shortlisted for the 2021 Sobey Art Prize. 

The permanent painting features pottery from around the globe and across history in a cheerful palette of lilac, maroon, deep blue and teal. The mural’s ceramic vessels are depicted sitting on a large dining table, holding verdant plants and are flanked by two sets of hands extending into the scene from beyond the frame. 

If you look closely, you can see a reproduction of a vase by OCAD U graduate, Julie Moon, who is known for her whimsical botanical ceramic sculptures.

Starting out in a converted church on Toronto’s Queen Street West, Inspirations Studio has supported the creative pursuits of women from a diversity of backgrounds for over 27 years. The space offers a safe and supportive environment for its members to create ceramic works in. 

"I believe in art as a tool of justice, empowerment and healing. The benefit of making and experiencing art should be accessible to all people in all walks of life," says Boyle, who, like Perera, is a member of the steering committee at Inspirations Studio. Boyle represented Canada at the 2013 Venice Biennale and received an honorary doctorate from OCAD U in 2021. 

Since its founding in 1994, Inspirations Studio has grown into a means through which women can gain stability, express themselves, connect with community and transition towards more sustainable economic circumstances.  

At the studio, pottery is not only an art form but a channel through which the organization's members can gain financial independence. You can support Inspirations Studio and its members by purchasing ceramic works available in their retail store and online shop.