by Deidre Thomas, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Carla Rae Taylor is a storyteller, who expresses her stories through art. Her passion for artistic expression is prevalent in her drawings, paintings and colourful soulful murals. Her Indigenous ancestry is also a driving force for the art she creates and is always inspired by nature and dreams.
Taylor is proud of her Dene roots and was born and raised in St. Albert AB and raised in Yellowknife NT. She currently resides on Treaty 6 Territory where her energetic and vibrant art can be seen around Edmonton city streets on high-profile large-scale murals.
Her artistic journey began during her studies in 2003 at the En’owkin Centre in Penticton BC where she studied the Foundations in Aboriginal Art and Creative Writing. Taylor then ventured on and completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) at the University of Victoria. After finishing the BFA, she went on to complete a certificate in Graphic Design from the Pacific Design Academy in Victoria BC.
Her talent was recently recognized by the City of Edmonton and the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights as she led the creation of a 127-foot public mural that tells the story of Edmonton’s rich diverse cultural communities. The mural was unveiled earlier this summer and is themed “Our Mother Earth.” It was created by fifteen diverse local artists and is now a permanent art installation to honour Canadian Multiculturalism Day and National Indigenous History Month.
The thought-provoking mural is located in the underground pedway that connects the Churchill LRT station and Edmonton City Centre East.
When she’s not creating art in Edmonton, you can find Carla giving back to the youth in her community where she grew up in Yellowknife. Last year, Taylor visited William McDonald Middle School to inspire students in grades 6-8 to spark their inner artist in creating a unique and breathtaking mural of their own. The experience was particularly special for Taylor as she is also a former student who attended the school.
“It’s been amazing to work with these kids,” Taylor told Cabin Radio. “They’re great workers, there’s a variety of interests between them, and they have some great ideas for images that they’d like to put in the mural.”
Carla Rae was also humbled and grateful for the inspirational words of wisdom and praise given to her by the Elders in her community.
“I grew up here and I have Dene roots, and I’ve been really honoured to be able to sit with various Elders of different Indigenous nations,” says Taylor. “They’ve shared wisdom, knowledge and teachings with me and, as an artist and a collector of knowledge and wisdom, it’s really an honour to be here with these students, creating this mural.”
Her art is currently displayed at the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton with pieces that express her passion for the diversity in the city. She is also an advocate for connecting her art to marginalized groups who face difficult social barriers. It is a priority for her to ensure that these individuals’ voices are echoed through her art.
Taylor is currently developing a brand named “High Vibration” that will feature her original work on apparel pieces. The three pillars of the brand are Live Your Passion, Be Resilient and Giving back when and where you can.
Carla lives in Sherwood Park, AB with her beloved husband Eric and 2 children.