Art Alley Mural Project

The Art Alley Mural Project: The Intersection of Human Rights and Community Art

We are brought poetry to Islington Village in a big way – a specially commissioned poem by Dionne Brand,  City of Toronto’s Former Poet Laureate, - has been painted onto the 1000 square foot wall in the alley immediately east of our office and gallery.






      Mural painter William Lazos painting the mural with assistance from
           youth volunteers.


This unique poetry mural is produced by Arts Etobicoke, participating in Amnesty International's Project: Urban Canvas – a series of 30 murals throughout Toronto, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

We chose Article 13 for the theme of the mural - “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement.” Dionne Brand, City of Toronto’s Poet Laureate has written an original poem based on this Article and artist Susan Rowe Harrison developed the design of the mural. Mural painter William Lazos painted the mural with assistance from youth volunteers.

The Art Alley Mural Project also included an exciting learning opportunity for youth through our free Saturday Storefront Art Classes. Artist/teacher Faten Toubasi ledparticipants in a series of classes that demonstrated the process of public art creation.

Students received technical training in mural painting and then created their own art by exploring themes generated by the Mural Project. The final objective was for participants to create collective artwork, their work was displayed to the public at the launch of the Art Alley project.

The Art Alley Mural Project is a unique addition to our visually rich neighbourhood. Currently there are 15 heritage murals within a 10-block radius depicting history of the area dating back to 1800’s. In order to reflect the current cultural landscape, our mural will shine a light on the area’s contemporary and multi-cultural voices.

We acknowledge the support of the following sponsors:
City of Toronto's Arts in the Hood/Live with Culture
Pierre Seunik, PS Group of Companies, Emimax Holdings Inc.
Village Paint

A special thank you goes to long-time Arts Etobicoke volunteer Karina Dahlin who generously contributed her time and communications expertise to this project.

Based on Article 13 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

Article 13

by Dionne Brand, City of Toronto’s Poet Laureate
The passenger pigeons once traveled here,
here once they furrowed the sky,
raked wide the full moon’s face,
to drink the lakes' inclined and pristine surfaces,
who crossed the langourous cold river first
and saw the ceiling of birds,
then wandered the mouth of this intimate lake,
skanadario, who needed maps and homing devices,
compasses, the featherless arms,
who came here driven on the muscular spasms
of guesses, and hard bargains and wars and lack,
this river, Tanaovate, at the east, has washed
its large share of loneliness and industry
it has collected time and more, much more
than its salt and black and rainbow creeks,
fugitive, its tributaries of migrants
inalienable nomads, global citizens
unfettered limbs, we are heartsick for the true world,
compelled to place we search for place,
there in the growths of black wild alders,
how many sojourns, the gathered feet, the flight of horses,
the vein of railway, the stray of airplanes,
we brace our transience on the hurtling planet,
this 13th note, its opening sound, articulates,
unbinds our migratory bones, renascent
here our common ownership of the earth

Supported by City of Toronto


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