The Mural festival of Montreal wears its name proudly, from the french “Mur”, meaning wall, comes the name of one of the biggest urban art festival in North America. The festival began in 2013 with a week-long event, with artists from all over the world revamping the famous Boulevard Saint-Laurent, that runs through the center of the city. Due to increased success over the years, the festival has gained International recognition and now runs for a full eleven days. The significance of the Boulevard Saint-Laurent as the venue for the event is rather significant. Not only is it one of the busiest streets of downtown Montreal, it was also an ideal place for immigrants and Canadians to set up small business along the Boulevard. It was also a symbol of the division between the anglophone and francophone communities over the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, but now represents the unity and diversity of these two communities, that now coexist within Canada and are responsible for the peaceful duality in identity Canada is now so famous for. The decision to choose this street as the berth for self-expression and vivid wall art is of note, as it enables young Canadian and International artists to decorate and enhance this historical spot in an unprecedented and aesthetically pleasing manner.
I covered MURAL 2016, and the sheer diversity of artists and art was the thing that astounded me. Men, women, graffiti vandals to paintbrush pixies, wall art, floor art… Some walls covered in realistic portraits, faces that expressed joy, fear, surprise… And others covered in more abstract and loose representations, surreal fresques. But also the music, the people laughing and dancing, and the three dimensional sculptures that blended amongst them. An extremely special day centred around outward expression, and sincere showmanship.