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Murals to Celebrate Black History Month

For a little over 40 years ago, February has become Black History Month, an event celebrated in the United States, Canada and other countries around the world.

In response to racial profiling and prejudice the Black community has been a victim of and still, but, more importantly, to pay tribute important events and figures, a whole month of celebrations has been devoted to honor the black community countless and unfortunately often overlooked contributions to the world’s history, culture and society.

Politicians, businessmen, journalists and many others have shown their support to the Black community and paid tribute to important figures with speeches and texts since. And, when words are not enough to express the pride felt, visual artists conveyed those emotions through a great variety of creations. Having also the power to overstep language barriers and reach a greater audience, these artworks are becoming a symbol of cultural affirmation.

As this year’s Black History Month theme in Montreal is “Black history is made every day!”, we’ve gathered murals showcasing some well-known figures, but also some less familiar faces who will remind you that the Black community’s contributions are made everyday and in many spheres.

 

1. Basquiat/Jay Z by Owen Dippie

Acclaimed poet, musician and graffiti artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work filled with political commentaries on systems of racism marked everyone’s mind, in the 70’s. As a fan of both Basquiat and Jay Z, the New Zealand born artist, Owen Dippie, created this mural in Brooklyn, where both Basquiat and Jay Z are from, as a play on words from the famous rapper and businessman’’s line “It ain’t hard to tell I’m the new Jean Michel.”

2. Long live the dead queen serie by Mary Sibande

Dressed in an hybrid of a maid’s uniform mixed with extravagant victorian dresses, these portraits created by the South African artist back in 2010 were meant as a critique of stereotypical depictions of Black women.

3. Oliver Jones by Dan Buller & Five8, produced by MU

The portrait of this great Montreal pianist and teacher was immortalised in the neighborhood where he grew up, in 2014, on his 80th birthday, as an homage to his involvement in the cultural scene, putting Montreal’s jazz culture on the map.

4. Black History Month by Ernie Pryor

As the first celebration of Black History Month happened at Kent State University, organised by students and educators, Ernie Pryor created this painting over the walls of the university’s Center of Pan African Culture as a tribute to its founders.

5. Jimi Hendrix by Nychos

This one doesn’t need introduction. Known as one of the most influential musician in popular music history, Jimi Hendrix has been a role model for many African-American aspiring musician. This piece by Nychos, which was a part of Juxtapoz Clubhouse art fair in 2017, is inspired by one of the rocker’s famous song, “Purple Haze”.

6. Martin Luther King Jr. by Kobra

One of the most important event in the fight for racial equality: Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”

For Kobra, this piece recreating the symbolic event evokes hope, inspiration and awareness.

7. The oldest person on the planet by Sebastien Waknine

Meet Susannah Mushatt Jones. She was 116 years old, oldest person on the planet and the last person living American born in the 19th century and the world’s oldest person alive, when she received a Guinness World Record in 2015. Throughout her long life, she contributed in her own way to society, including establishing a college scholarship fund for African-American students at her old high school.

8. Jackie Robinson by Fluke Art

When the Dodgers heralded the end of racial segregation in professional baseball for him, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in the Baseball Major League.

Montreal born street artist and founder of A’shop, Fluke paid tribute to this example for young black athletes and an inspiration for militants of civil rights with this massive artwork painted as part of Mural Festival’s fifth edition.

9. The Resurrection by Aniekan Udofia

As a tribute to the Black community’s heritage to the Jazz scene, a few figures who marked African-American’s history with their music color this Jazz club wall in Washington DC:

> Ella Fitzgerald, jazz singer, nicknamed Queen of Jazz and First Lady of Song;

> Miles Davis, jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, and one of the most acclaimed musician in the history of Jazz;

> John Coltrane, jazz saxophonist and composer, also Pulitzer Prize winner and canonized as Saint John William Coltrane;

> Bud Powells, jazz pianist and leading figure in the development of modern jazz.

10. The Freedom Wall by John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley and Edreys Wajed

From Rosa Parks to Angela Davis to Malcom X, the “Freedom Wall” in Buffalo showcases 28 important figures of the local and national African-American history to highlight historic and ongoing struggles with social and political inequalities. In addition to encouraging conversation around the long journey for equality and freedom, this mural was meant to highlight the fact that it’s not only one person’s job and that there’s not only one way, everybody can contribute in their own way to this journey.

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Love is in the Air and on the Walls

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. To set the mood and get you in the spirit, we’ve gathered a few of the loveliest street art from around the World celebrating love.

The Chrome Dance by Bik Ismo

📍 Montreal, Canada

A traditional dance with futuristic vibes has been decorating the Montreal’s streets since Mural’s 4th edition, in 2016.

The Kiss by Eduardo Kobra

📍 New York City, USA

This one-of-a-kind remake of the iconic sailor kiss photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt colored New York City’s High line from 2012 to 2016.

Bleeding Hearts/Lovewall murals by JGoldcrown

📍 New York City, USA

From Japan to Brazil and accross the US, JGoldcrown’s lovewalls sprinkle joy and hope and put a little love in our hearts.

Love by Claire Streetart

📍 Paris, France

Lovers in action are Claire Streetart’s trademark.

Parting Kiss and Love Forever by D*Face

📍 Los Angeles, USA

D*Face gives a darker and more satirical look at love.

Mobile Lovers and Kissing Coppers by Banksy

📍 London, UK

📍 Brighton, UK

Banksy’s depictions of love are always accompanied by an underlying social commentary.

Lalix y Saner by Saner

📍 Mexico

Saner’s lovely tribute to his couple’s love for their wedding day.

Let Love Grow by Scampi

📍 Wellington, New Zealand

Simple stencil artwork with meaningful messages like this lovely piece caracterize Scampi’s style.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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#TravelTuesday: Mexico City

Over the years, street art has become a way for cities to revive neighborhoods, a way for artists to express themselves in a more public space, a way for activists to get a message across, a way for brands to let their colors show and more. From Miami to Lisbon or Melbourne, the World has become a large canvas to discover.
Mural Festival Blog introduces #TravelTuesday, a street art destination content series, where each content piece will explore an artsy city’s unique street art culture.

As Mexico is topping as one of 2018 trendy destination, we’re opening our #TravelTuesday series with the capital of this rich cultured country. Some are charmed by its delicious food, others are attracted by its impressive history, here we will explore what its street art scene has to offer.

Mexico City has a long background of muralism, dating back to the 20’s when Diego Rivera used his art to call attention to political issues.

Nowadays, recent events are highly influencing local and international street artists coming to Mexico City to leave their mark.  

Locally, street artist collective Lapiztola has taken the streets of Oaxaca and Mexico City to highlight some of Mexico’s social and political issues, from disappeared students to drug lords and migrants.

Believing murals are harder to hide and to remove, the two young artists moved traded graphic design to street art.

#lapiztola #shoreditch #bricklane #london #england

Une publication partagée par Kerstin Crocoll (@kerstin.ta) le

In the same vein, Poni, originally a well-established graphic designer, has recently moved to public art. Her feminine and delicate murals are often teinted of a political, environmentalist and feminist message.

Repost from @seawalls_ 💙 Finished mural by @pangeaseed @seawalls_ guest artist @poni (Mexico) in partnership with @corona for Corona Sunsets Festival. . Title: Fishnet . Location: Playa San Pancho, Mexico . Artist statement: For my mural, I wanted to create an artwork that demonstrates in a inspiring manner, how the damage of plastic pollution is impacting our lives and the ecosystems we depend on for survival. . All creatures living in coexistence and cohabiting the same ecosystems are equally harmed by the damage we humans are causing through our destructive consumption habits. With fresh colors and a positive approach, my mural is a reminder to take care of our blue planet and its vital oceans. Poni – . Special thanks to the good people of @corona and @akirattilia for helping to make this project possible. Stay tuned for more exciting updates with this trailblazing collaboration to help save our seas via art and activism (ARTivism). . PC: @abovebelowphoto . #pangeaseed #corona #seawalls #ARTivism #paintforapurpose #seawallsMX #saveourseas #mexico #parley #playasanpancho #coronasunsets

Une publication partagée par Hilda Palafox 🍙 (@poni) le

Also, best known for his kaleidoscopic artworks of animals evoking a fantastic atmosphere, Farid Rueda has often accompanied his murals of an underlying social commentary on politics and indigenous people.

On another note, built upon ruins of an ancient Aztec city, Mexico City’s street art scene is greatly influenced by this rich cultural heritage. Proud of this colorful legacy, many acclaimed Mexican street artists incorporate symbols, colors or patterns emblematic of this pre-Hispanic culture.

Amongst others, Mexican street artist Curiot has made his mark in the street art world with pieces showcasing mythical creatures covered in feathers, fur, and vibrant colors, representations of god-like figures and geometric patterns greatly inspired by pre-Hispanic culture.

Mexican street artist, illustrator and graphic designer, Saner’s work is a true celebration of Mexican’s history and culture, using pre-Hispanic traditional imagery to encourage people to look at the past and learn from it.

Colorful and vibrant artworks sprinkled with Mexican symbols, such as snakes and eagles, are Seher One’s trademark. The well-known street artist has shared his Aztec heritage inspired work locally and globally with collaborations with popular brands like Nike and New Era.

All in all, Mexico City’s street art scene has greatly evolved in the recent years; established street artists from all over the world like Roa, Jr and D*Face have left their brush stroke in the streets of Mexico, important international graffiti festivals have taken place, thanks to organisations like MUJAM and  All City Canvas, galleries have created exhibitions promoting this form of art and street art tours aimed for tourists, such as Street Art Chilango’s, have arised.

Where to find these pre-Hispanic and politically inspired murals in Mexico City?

Colonia Roma Norte – Probably Mexico City’s most popular hood for a street art hunt; rest assured that you’ll find amazing pieces out there, from Mexican artists as well as international artists.

Photo Credit: Lydia Carey | Piece by Jorge Tellaeche.

Colonia Condesa – Colonia Roma Norte’s twin district, Colonia Condesa’s just as hip and filled with interesting street art.

Centro Histórico – Heart of the Aztec civilization, the historic center’s not only brimming with anciant ruins and architectural landmarks, but is also a great spot to seek out Mexican street art.

Museo del Juguete Antiguo México – This antique toy museum is covered with incredible street art as well as being the birthplace of the city’s first international street art festival, back in 2007.

Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares – The museum offers a Graffiti exhibition with some unique pieces.

Celaya Brothers Gallery – With exhibitions from famous international street artists, such as Felipe Pantone and Nuria Mora, this gallery allows you to appreciate some of their work outside of their impressive murals.

At last, Mexico City’s not the only town in the country with a rich street art scene. If you’re travelling around the country, Playa del Carmen, Oaxaca, Tijuana and Puerto Vallarta are also filled with unique artworks.

Safe travels!  

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5 Artists redefining the concept of Street Art

How much do you love street art? How much do you love innovation? And how much do you love innovation in street art?

Well, if your answer was an enthusiastic “a lot” (and even if it wasn’t) to all of the above, no need to look any further; we have assembled our favorite murals that push the boundaries of creativity and change our perception of street art. Peep the rest of the article for some mind-blowing content.

 

INSA

Ever heard how the Mona Lisa follows you with her eyes when you stand in front of her? Well, imagine artwork that actually moves; not in myth, but in reality.

British artist INSA starts his art where it usually ends – on technological media. His signature “GiF-iTi” murals are created by photographing each layer, hand-painted by the artist, and then overlaying the pictures to create a looping GIF. Most interesting part? When coming across an INSA mural, the passerby can not only admire the artwork on the wall but can also watch it come to life by downloading the artist’s GiF-iTi app.

INSA has recently broken new records of originality by creating an artwork with a team of 20 and a satellite 431 miles above the earth to create the world’s largest GIF that is delivering all its meaning when seen from the space.

 

Felipe Pantone

Felipe Pantone has been painting the streets in Spain since he was 12 years old. His kinetic art pieces composed of light spectrum inspired colors and geometrical shapes in movement are quickly capturing the attention of the viewers. The Spanish artist is continuously exploring and pushing the limit between digital art and street art, disregarding the traditional technique and using all the tools that he has in his possession. In the street or for gallery shows, Felipe Pantone is always creating mind-bending artwork: he’s playing with our conception of colors and movement either with static artworks or recently with virtual reality creations.

Thanks to his graffiti background Felipe Pantone is always thinking bigger and bigger. He then has the record of the largest mural in Lisbon and the biggest QR code ever painted. This mural, situated in Hasselt, Belgium, features an enormous and mysterious QR code lying on top of the artist’s signature bursts of color.

“I can take you wherever I want,” says Pantone when asked about the significance of the code.

 

Onur

Montrealers can proudly say that their city harbors some of the most impressive murals in the world. One that is definitely worth mentioning was created by Swiss artist Onur during (surprise) the fifth edition of MURAL Festival.

Onur’s background as a set artist for theatres is seen in some of his larger-scale works, where he captures moments of everyday life. The artist’s mural in Montreal, which looks like an exploding light bulb painted over a black wall during the day, turns into a GLOWING exploding light bulb at night.

What makes this mural so unique and visually impressive is Onur’s use of fluorescent paint to emphasize the metaphor of the light bulb as a “Vision” (which, by the way, is what the mural is called). If you’re situated in Montreal, check out the dazzling Chinatown-situated mural which is truly a sight for sore eyes.

 

JR

After receiving the TED prize at the TED conference, French artist and “photograffeur” JR decided to use the award to create a project that assembles people who wish to stand together on an issue they care about.

The project is called Inside Out and involves photobooth trucks. Once participants walk in, an internal camera takes their picture and, within minutes, a black and white 3×5 portrait is printed out for them. The participants are then free to paste it in a public space in their community, thus creating an incredible wall of black and white portraits.

The goal of the project is to keep the momentum of standing together for something going for as long as possible through art.

 

Hula

Although it’s impressive to see how street art merges with urban scenery, it is even more impressive to watch it become one with nature; emphasizing and blending in with the elements instead of overshadowing them.

Sean Yoro, professionally known as HULA, is a self-taught contemporary artist who extraordinarily incorporates his artwork into nature, and not vice-versa. His mural “Huna” is painted on a pier in Saint-John, New Brunswick, and shows the extreme 28ft of tidal changes that happen every six hours in the city.

“Huna” is the portrait of a woman that one can only see when the water is completely out of the bay. You can only see her hands until she emerges fully, revealing a mural that covers almost three stories of concrete. Then, as the tide comes back, she is once again taken over by the ocean.

Watch this inspiring video showing HULA in full action, overcoming and embracing nature for his art.

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Our 10 favorite murals of 2017

1010 – Berlin, Germany (@1010zzz)

 

 

  Xylène for Blink Cincinnati – Ohio, USA (@xylene_projects)

 

 

 Lonac for No Limit Borås – Borås, Sweden (@lonacpot)

 

 

“The Shipwreck of Bienvenu” by Ella & Pitr – La Valla-En Gier, France (@ellapitr)

 

 

 “African Housewife independence” by Okuda – Girona, Spain (@okudart)

 

 

 Kitt Bennett – Melbourne, Australia (@kitt_bennett)

 

 

“The Other” by Gleo for Nu Festival – Sao Paulo, Brazil (@gleo_ceo)

 

 

Felipe Pantone & Anna Tiron – Berlin, Germany (@felipepantone & @AnnaTIron)

 

 

TwoSeven for Nu Art Festival – Oslo, Norway (@7wo)

 

 

 Bordalo II – Lisbon, Portugal (@b0rdalo_ii)