Artist Jag Nagra stepped up to design a colourful graphic now turning heads in one area of Surrey.
In celebration of Pride Month, a stairway at the east entrance to Guildford Town Centre features the words “Love is Love” and a rainbow hue.
People began posting photos of the steps to social media soon after the art installation Monday, June 13.
“I went there with my family on Tuesday,” Nagra said, “and the kids were running up and down and it was cool to see people stop to take photos of it. Seeing people interact with it is really great.”
Nagra created last year’s Diwali-themed jerseys for a Canucks hockey game, and is featured in the documentary movie “Emergence: Out of the Shadows,” which sheds light on three South Asian adults and their stories of growing up gay.
A couple of months ago Nagra re-connected with Guildford Town Centre management about getting a Pride-related work done at the mall, a year after she created an interior mural there. The four-tier exterior stairway was chosen as the art site.
“The work came together over the past few weeks, in terms of getting the art done and wrapping it all up,” Nagra explained. “It’s not painted, it’s a vinyl application done by a company called Screenguild Signs, and they did a really great job of printing it out and installing it. Painting it would have taken a long time, so we went with a vinyl application, from a Vector file I sent them.”
Nagra isn’t sure how long the mall’s exterior stairs will feature her colourful art.
“Initially they said they’d keep it up until Pride season ends in August, but we’ll see how long it’ll be there,” she said. “If they get lots of attention for it and good feedback, maybe they’ll keep it up longer.”
Born in Surrey and now living in Pitt Meadows, Nagra’s Twitter bio describes her as a “Subway Sandwich Artist® turned Artist Artist” — and it’s true.
“I worked at Subway at the beginning of my art education, when I was going to school to be a graphic designer,” she said with a laugh.
It’s me!!!! https://t.co/8UQdqWrT1d— Jag Nagra (@jagnagra_) November 3, 2021
Among her career highlights is designing the Diwali-themed Canucks jersey worn by players during a pre-game warmup last November.
“I had so many South Asian people tell me how important that was, with Diwali being celebrated in that way,” Nagra recalled. “The night of the game, people were so happy about it, coming up to me asking for photos. Beyond the art opportunity, seeing community come together was by far the best part of that.”
For Nagra, another highlight of 2021 was the release of the award-winning “Emergence” documentary film.
“It’s huge,” she said, “and I don’t know if I expected this much attention from it, but it’s been all around the world now and is getting some amazing feedback. I feel really proud that I’m in it, and because we have two young kids, they’re going to grow up surrounded by love, and that it’s not a big deal that this is the kind of family we have.”
The 23rd Surrey Pride Festival is Saturday, June 25 on the plaza at Central City Shopping Centre, featuring live music, drag and lip-sync performances from 4 to 9 p.m. Vendor booths will be set up on 102 Avenue, closed to traffic for the event. Reserved seating is available at Central City Taphouse and Kitchen (visit eventbrite.ca for info).