An art piece dedicated to the Mounties now has a place among the officers it honours.
Millarville-area artist Linda MacKay created a mixed media piece of an RCMP officer for a travelling art exhibit more than a year ago. She intended to create a giclee, or a painting on canvas, of the fibre-art piece for the Turner Valley RCMP to auction off, but when COVID hit she was unsure of what to do.
When it became apparent that in-person fund raisers likely won’t be happening for some time, MacKay instead decided to give the artwork to the Turner Valley RCMP detachment to display.
“I wanted them to feel respected,” MacKay said. “I wanted them to know that they had, what I feel is a large part of the population that is rooting for them.”
She had two pieces made, one for the lobby and one for the officers inside the detachment.
MacKay said it may be because she is a rule follower or watching the Mounties in their red serge doing the musical ride that built her affinity for the RCMP.
“The colour and the regalia of that has always appealed to me,” she said.
When the Fibre Art Network put a call out for a travelling exhibition called Threads of Hope that was to incorporate a ribbon of red and encapsulate the artist’s hope for the future, MacKay was inspired to create a piece focusing on the RCMP.
Her artwork, called Thin Red Line has a Mountie on a horse with an oversized hat to bring attention to the unique head wear worn by Canada’s police force.
The 55 pieces made for the exhibit will be on exhibit at galleries across Western Canada for three years.
She said she particularly admires the RCMP officers stationed at rural detachments that police large areas.
“They have very few people to police large tracts of land,” she said.
Mackay said the call to de-fund the police bothered her and she wanted to create art that showed her hope for the future of the RCMP.
“I’ve always been a rules follower and really respected the police so that always bothered me,” she said. “I thought I’m really going to respect the police and the RCMP in particular and that is my hope for the RCMP in the future in the rural areas and small centres.”
Turner Valley RCMP Staff Sgt. Laura Akitt said it is an honour to receive the artwork and the message behind it is appreciated.
“It’s a great honour,” she said. “The RCMP, in general, it is part of our mandate and what we strive for is to work within our communities and be part of our communities. When we are recognised by organizations within our communities, it feels like we are succeeding."