Focal Point - Emily Gardner – Street Artist
Photos by Oliver Crawford
It’s been quite a journey for alumna Emily Gardner BA’13. She grew up poor in Regina’s North Central neighbourhood. While attending high school at Regina’s Sheldon-Williams Collegiate, she spent one year living at Gemma House, the Salvation Army girls’ group home.
When attempts to reconcile with her mother failed, her grandmother took her in and raised her. Gardner saw education as her way of escaping poverty and creating a more stable life, and started an economics degree in 2007. As a student, Gardner was active, becoming president of the Economics Student Association, a research assistant and a teaching assistant.
In 2013, she graduated at the top of her class and earned the Dr. Jack Boan Medal in Economics and the Dr. Alex Kelly Undergraduate Economics Essay Prize. After finishing her studies, she decided to move to New Zealand. (Her largely absent father was a New Zealander, entitling Gardner to apply for citizenship.) She earned a Master of Professional Studies in International Relations and Human Rights at the University of Auckland and later worked as a settlement officer in a large bank.
But Gardner was drawn to painting, a skill she developed in her youth to deal with anxiety and uncertainty. Today, Gardner works full time as a street artist, painting under the tag name Adore. Her murals can be seen throughout Auckland. Recently, Adidas commissioned her to produce a mural for the company’s global adicolor campaign.