The Montreal Mural Festival is back in town. Now in its 5th year, the vibrant and inspiring street art festival takes place up and down Boulevard St Laurent over a period of 10 days from June 8th to 18th.
More than 20 artists will be creating original artwork on a grand scale as many buildings on the main are transformed from brick and mortar into a mutli coloured urban canvas.
This week, DCMTL Blog was lucky enough to catch up with two of the artists about their project – BUMI – at this years Mural Festival.
BUMI is the Congolese word for life. It also happens to be the name of the orphanage in Congo where artist Aydin Matlabi works with his humanitarian organization, Foundation 64. Aydin was partnered on the project by his good friend, world renowned activist and street artist, MissMe.
Aydin, a child refugee to Canada, has dedicated himself to becoming a positive and active presence in the lives of unfortunate children. Forced to endure the consequences of war, disease, and abandonment, these children are helped and encouraged through Aydin’s grassroots support.
MissMe is another strong and positive voice in her community (both artists are now based in Montreal). Originally from Europe, MissMe has been living and creating in North America for 17 years. A cultural critic with no time for outdated patriarchal values, MissMe’s work inspires women to forcefully take back ownership of their femininity.
The BUMI art piece, which is located at the side of the Darling restaurant at Marie-Anne and St laurent, is an even blend of Aydin and MissMe’s inspiration. Vibrant in colour, and playful in its patterns, it evokes the unmistakable African wear of west Africa. It stars three of the children from the Bumi orphanage in Congo who are all pictured in Golden crowns. Designed by MissMe, and executed by her, Aydin, and their friend Isabelle, the piece is a combination of wheatpaste stickers and paint.
Isabelle, who works on similar large scale art projects alongside Montreal youth, believes that these kind of community art projects are where change really takes place. This spirit, of actions speaking louder than words, seems to be a philosophy that all three artists share and live. As a nod to this, MissMe has inserted a ‘power to the people’ fist motif into the mural reminding us that sympathy and pity are no substitute for action.
Photo credit to Jess at Nudabite