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Mark Stoddart standing in front of the GO bus with his design featuring musician Salome Bey, in celebration of Black History Month.

Metrolinx celebrates Black history with alumnus’ art

Newsroom authorby Vitusha OberoiFeb 10, 2022

Mark StoddartAn invaluable piece of Black history is on the road to still greater recognition, thanks to Sheridan graduate and professor in the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design, Mark Stoddart (Illustration ’92).

Stoddart has created a mural and a GO bus wrap for Metrolinx, featuring Canada’s first lady of the blues, Salome Bey, in celebration of Black History Month. The special edition bus, covered in Stoddart’s distinctive collage design that comprises newspaper headlines, photos, interviews, and reviews of Bey dating back over 50 years, is a moving tribute to one of Canada’s best-known musicians who paved the way for Black artists in theatre.

“It's definitely a surreal feeling, seeing one's vision come to life. I think I'm more excited knowing hundreds if not thousands of people will now know the name Salome Bey. She is a huge part of the tapestry of our country, and much more than a singer and songwriter. I’m so thankful to have my artwork play a key part in telling her story and the contribution she has made in Canada,” Stoddart said.

On road to freedom

For Stoddart, the bus wrap is also a powerful reminder of another chapter in Black history – US civil rights activist Rosa Parks’ fight against segregated seating on buses. “As I worked on the wrap, I thought about our road to freedom and what that means for us as Black people. We stand on the shoulders of giants and the sacrifices they’ve made for us,” he says.

“As I worked on the wrap, I thought about our road to freedom and what that means for us as Black people. We stand on the shoulders of giants and the sacrifices they’ve made for us.”

The bus wrap design, titled Post No Bills, aligns with the newsprint concept Stoddart has been using to celebrate and honor those who have made a significant contribution to the community. “Within the Black community, we continually hear how our stories have been torn out of the history books. This concept allows us to not only tell those stories, but also illustrates the point that we can uncover our fascinating stories and history hidden underneath layers of prints, if we do our research,” Stoddart says.

Last year, Stoddart had designed the GO bus wrap for the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, also commissioned by Metrolinx, and in 2020, he co-designed the Black Lives Matter tribute apparel for the Toronto Raptors. “My intent is to continue paving the way for the next creative artist to speak truth to power as we travel along the road of freedom,” he says.

Read more about how legacy and impact motivate Mark Stoddart's art.


Banner photo: Mark Stoddart (Illustration’92), Sheridan graduate and professor in the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design, with the special edition GO bus that carries his design featuring Canada’s first lady of the blues, Salome Bey, in celebration of Black History Month.

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