Clandestinos in a hidden corner

…. of downtown Toronto.

a brick arch with a hanging light near the top, view through the arch is to a multi level parking garage, slight glimpses of a mural on the left side

Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky have painted another large colourful mural. This one features two women, a baltimore oriole, and many flowers.

mural by Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky in a narrow passageway

below: Close up of the bird, a baltimore oriole

part of a Clandestinos mural, showing a bird, a baltimore oriole, with a woman's face close to it.  she has her eyes closed

close up of a womans face in a clandestinos mural, butterfly flying past her cheek,another woman behind her with flowers and fruit in her hair, eyes closed.

below: Adorned with leaves, flowers, and fruit – blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Lots of cherry blossoms and another bird too.

cherry blossoms, faces, painted in a mural, fruit and flowers for hair, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries

The Original Peace Treaty

There is a large mural (40′ x 50′) in downtown Toronto on the west wall of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts on Front Street East. It was painted by Quentin Commanda, aka Que Rock.

large mural with First Nations themes, painted by Quentin Commanda, outdoor scene, butterfly, bear in pink water, fish, turtle island, moose, orange grass, sunset or sunrise sky, woman sitting,

below: Commanda’s “Artist Statement” – see below the picture to read the transcription.

on a wall beside a mural, words that are the artist statement for the mural, also a picture of the artist, Quentin Commanda,

Artist Statement:

This mural is meant to be a visual healing experience. The seven rings around Grandfather Sun represent the seven Grandfather teachings of the Anishinaabe people: Wisdom, Love, Humility, Respect, Honesty, Courage, and Truth. There are many layers of sacred geometry patterns on the mural.

The skyline includes the medicine-wheel teachings, Grandmother Moon and the 13 grandmother clan systems. The turtle shell represents North America’s creation story, the 13 full moons per year, and the seven grandfather teachings.

The entire mural also represents the original Peace Treaty of the Six Nations on Turtle Island (North America). The story of the Six Nations Treaty starts with the original five Nations of Turtle Island: the Plant Nation, the Insect Nation, the Bird Nation, the Fish Nation, and the Animal Nation. All five Nations had to agree to let the Human Nation live here on Mother Earth. All five Nations agreed to be humanity’s teachers and the Human Nation was invited to share the land.

The Human Nation was given instructions on how to live on Mother Earth, walk gentle on Mother Earth, learn one new thing every day, and share with one another. These are some of the original instructions given to the Anishinaabe people. The bear represents a Medicine Clan. The Mukwa (bear) is a healer, it is the only animal who communicates with all Six Nations.

The bottom panel represents my story from the past, present, and future. The first character with the microphone is the future and present me. The second character represents my past as a native child with my dog Miangun and the path of healing I have taken to decolonize myself back to the Anishinaabe child I was born to be.

My mother is a residential school survivor and so was my father. I am no different than the 215 children found in Kamloops, B.C. I survived to tell you this story and share my experiences. My community is still here and so am I.

The Artist is from Nbiising or Nipissing First Nation, his traditional name is Manitou Nemeen (Spirit Dancing) and he is from the Miangun Dodem (Wolf Clan).

The orange background on the mural represents the missing/murdered Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.

The mural was commissioned by TO Live

more Montreal women

The previous blog post was about a large Montreal mural by Kevin Ledo that was a portrait of a woman called Mary Socktish. There are a number of other murals in the city that have a woman, or women, as the main feature. These are some of them – the following photos were taken on four visits to Montreal between 2015 and 2021 and some of these murals may no longer exist.

below: One of the older murals in Montreal, a graffiti granny, old woman by ASHOP Productions

mural of an older woman with hair in a bun, wearing glasses, and an apron,purple buildings in background on mural,  on a Montreal corner,

below: A mural by five8art, a young woman looking skyward.

large mural of a young woman with longhair, blue background, she's looking up

below: By a Depanneur at Pins and Hotel de Ville, a large mural of two seated women and their scarf by Australian artist Fintan Magee.

At the corner, beside a depanneur, a large mural of two seated women by Fintan Magee, one has blue and white checkered scarf over her face, the other has same scarf across the top of her head.
Close up of mural by Fintan Magee in Montreal, by small window in building, hands of women plus their blue and white scarves

below: A mural by Rone, another Australian artist.

close up of a large mural by Rone of a woman's face in shades of brown, on a brick wall in Montreal, street art

below: Sorry is Not Enough, a mural by Denial (or Enjoy Denial) with a shout out to Black Lives Matter

large mural in Montreal of a woman crying, eyes closed, white tears, red lipstick, by Denial, above her face are words Sorry is not enough

below: From 2018, this mural by Drew Merritt and Sainte Famille and Milton (photo taken in 2018 as well)

mural of a woman on a MOntreal wall painted by Drew Merritt

below: Street artist Nychos working on a mural

street artist nychos up on a lift and painting a large mural in Montreal as people walk by on the street

mural by nychos in Montreal

below: A tribute to Lea Roback (1903-2000), by Carlos Oliva (aka Hsix) in 2014. Roback was a textile worker who became a trade union activist, feminist and pacifist (among other things). She fought for woman’s suffrage in Quebec (1936), she played a role in helping to organize 5,000 garment workers who had been on a three-week strike in 1937, and that is only a small fraction of what she accomplished.

below: by Sandra Chevrier, pop culture references to Superman and Batman

below: A collaboration between Cyrielle Tremblay and Poni (aka Hilda Palafox, painted in 2018. Working in an imaginary garden maybe?

muraal on a brick wall, two women working outside.  One is planting a blue pine tree and the other is pouring water, ther is a cross on a red hill with other blue trees on it.

below: A whimsical black and white of women astronauts, guitar players, skate boarders, astronomers, and others. It is the work of Le Monstr, aka Benjamin Tran.

black and white mural of women doing a number of activites, also some sleeping cats, an astronaut among the planets, a shkateboarder, reading, playing guitar.  Mural in Montreal, by Le Monstr, a k a Benjamin Tran

below: A mural from 2014 putting a spotlight on the call for justice for missing and murdered indigenous women.

on the side of a book store in Montreal, a mural calling for justice for missing and murderedindigenous women, a woman sitting outside, with a blanket around her shoulders

Hallelujah

The song “Hallelujah” is probably Leonard Cohen’s (1934-2016) most recognized work … or at least that’s what I think whenever I hear Leonard Cohen’s name, or see a picture of him. In Montreal, Cohen’s hometown, there is now a large mural of him that was painted by Kevin Ledo, also of Montreal.

very large mural in Montreal of Leonard Cohen, head and shoulders, wearing a fedora, in purple tones, by Kevin Ledo

Hallelujah Lyrics:

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you dont really care for music, do you?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor falls, the major lifts
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Well, maybe there’s a God above
As for me all I’ve ever learned from love
Is how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
But it’s not a crime that you’re hear tonight
It’s not some pilgrim who claims to have seen the Light
No, it’s a cold and it’s a very broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Instrumental

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Well people I’ve been here before
I know this room and I’ve walked this floor
You see I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
But listen love, love is not some kind of victory march, no
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And I remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove she was moving too
And every single breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Now I’ve done my best, I know it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didnt come here to London just to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand right here before the Lord of song
With nothing, nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

faces in pinks and blues

A mural full of odd and somewhat disturbing faces can be found in a narrow alley near the corner of Prince Arthur St. and Saint Laurent Blvd. It was painted by Mono Sourcil, (aka Maxilie Martel) a Montreal street artist. It dates from Mural Festival 2017 and has survived well.

Some of the people look rather ordinary and are doing ordinary things…. others, not so much.

mural by Maxilie Martel in an alley in Montreal, faces in pinks and blues,
part of a mural by Monosourcil, of faces, some odd faces, including a greyish blue face with one pink eye,
part of a mural  in a Montreal alley by Mono Sourcil, faces of people, including man with very pink face and dark pink hair, blue lips, another man with a face that looks more like a walrus
chair behind an empty hut in a parking lot, part of a mural sticking out on the wall of the alley behind the chair

Madame Gilles

As you walk around the city of Montreal, you can probably spot quite a few paper paste-ups featuring collage images of people that were created by an artist that signs her pieces as Madame Gilles.

poster sized graffiti on a wall in Montreal, collage of different pictures to form abstract womans face, by Madame Gilles

below: Similar image as above but this time on a door with another, including “One Day You Will Come” by @_doverin

below: A little less abstract and a lot less colour

black and white paper pasteup graffiti by Madame Gilles, womans face is predominant feature

paper pasteup graffiti by Madame Gilles, black and white image of a female guitar player, Joan,

The next two pictures show the same doorway. First the top section where once again the same image appears.

pasteups by Madame Gilles on a door in Montreal

Lower portion of the door.

pasteups on a door in Montreal

pasteup that was a collage but has been tagged over in blue paint

Photos taken September 2021

La Fresque des Québécois

La Fresque des Québécois is the title of a 420 m2 mural found on the side of Maison Soumande on rue Notre-Dame in Old Quebec City. It depicts figures from 400 years of Quebec City history. Twelve painters from France and Quebec contributed to the mural.

New France was the name of the French colony in North America beginning in 1593 with the arrival of Jacques Cartier. The French relinquished the colony to the British and the Spanish in 1763, at the end of the Seven Years War

a small group of people with their backs to the camera are looking at a large mural in Quebec City that depicts people from all parts of their 400 year history
Looking out of the upper windows are (on the left) Jean Talon (1626-1694) who was steward of New France; in this position he was in control of the civil administration of the colony. The other man is Louis de Baude Comte de Frontenac et de Palluau (1622-1698) was Governor General of New France for many years.
part of the Fresque de Quebecois showing buildings in the old part of Quebec City with two men standing on a balcony

In 1763 what is now Quebec became the Province of Quebec, a British colony. In 1791 this colony was divided into two, Upper Canada along the upper parts of the St. Lawrence River, and Lower Canada, along the lower section of the river. Upper Canada is approximately what is now Ontario while Quebec has grown from Lower Canada. Quebec City was in Lower Canada.

François-Xavier Garneau (1809-1866), national historian of French Canada stands on a balcony with (on the right) Louis-Joseph Papineau (1786-1871), Member of Parliament in Lower Canada.
Playing his guitar is Félix Leclerc (1914-1988). Just behind him is Frederick Temple Blackwood, Marquis de Dufferin and d’Ava (1826-1902), Governor General of Canada from 1872-1878; He’s probably best remembered as Lord Dufferin. During his time as Governor General, Quebec City officials began the demolition of the old city walls. Blackwood persuaded them to stop and rebuild the parts that they had damaged. In 1985 Old Quebec was recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
a woman and three young kids looking at Fresque des Quebecois in Quebec City, figures from history, Leclerc the guitar player and musician, Lord Dufferin, Samuel Champlain, also kids playing road hockey in the mural
Samuel Champlain (1570-1635) poses in his green jacket while holding onto his hat with the large white feather. He founded Quebec in 1608. Just behind him is Alphonse Desjardins (1854-1920) founder of the Desjardins Cooperative Movement.
people posing for pictures in front of the Fresque des Quebecois, with Samuel Champlain and Aphonse Desjardins, also a girl holding balloons,
Coming down the stairs is Louis Jolliet (1645 -1700), along with Jesuit priest Father Jacques Marquette, was the first non-Native to explore the upper parts of the Mississippi River. Jolliet was born near Quebec City.