Monday, September 21, 2020

Monday Mural

 Linking up at Monday Mural

September 2020 - Toronto ON

Descriptions from Toronto Life

Emmanuel Jarus, an artist and muralist, has redone this same wall near Graffiti Alley three times over the past six years. He completed his latest reinvention during Covid-19, and realized it perfectly fit StreetARToronto’s front-line heroes program. The original idea came to him while he was contemplating what to paint on the wall and happened to run into an old friend in a nearby parkette. She was taking a break from working at a cannabis store. He thought her mood and stance perfectly reflected the exhaustion and uncertainty of the current moment. “I like to observe things—I call my work ‘painting journalism’—and my murals happen organically,” Jarus says. So, he snapped a bunch of photos of his impromptu model, created an image on his iPad and selected his colour palette from whatever was available at the discount warehouse down the road. The result is a striking image which Jarus hopes passersby find relatable and honest.

Alexander Bacon is an internationally recognized artist who’s been painting since he was a teenager in the 1990s. His vibrant, large-scale pieces, featuring portraits and historical references, can be spotted all over Toronto, including Kensington Market and the Entertainment District. This massive mural near Adelaide and Portland features a hand clad in a blue medical glove holding a wilting flower. The idea came to him when he was submitting ideas for a virtual art festival in Puerto Rico. The flower is meant to represent the fragility of life, and the gloved hand represents the strength of our front-line workers. The scene is also supposed to show the sacrifices everyone is making for the most vulnerable in our society. “We basically shut the world down for people who aren’t strong enough to fight this virus,” says Alex. “I think it’s beautiful humanity is willing to do that.” The piece took Alex three days to paint, and he finds people still interpret it in different ways. Some simply find it aesthetically pleasing, but when he showed it to his uncle, who is a local doctor, he immediately recognized it as a tribute to their work—and brought all his colleagues down for a group viewing.

This was hard to photograph as it is in Graffiti Alley behind a locked fence.

Quentin Commanda (a.k.a. Que Rock) took over a wall that faces east onto Graffiti Alley and wanted to create something to honour front-line workers from his perspective as an Indigenous artist. He’s Nipissing First Nation, and both his parents are traditional healers. He decided to create a visual healing experience, based on the concept of the 13 full moons of the lunar calendar (the calendar his people followed before converting to Western ways). Each blue box represents a different full moon, and inside are messages that pay tribute to a matriarchal society. “There are more female front-line workers than men, so I wanted the piece to not only honour the polarities and dualities of life, but the power of femininity as well,” says Quentin. He also added more layers of Indigenous teachings, like sacred geometry patterns and medicine wheel symbols and chose to spell out “thank you” in graffiti-style lettering at the bottom to pay homage to the mural’s location in Graffiti Alley.


As mentioned above Jarus has painted on this Graffiti Alley wall previously.



  1. ...the last Jarus is a recognizable style.

  2. I really like the hand & flower one!

  3. The gloved hand mural is so beautiful and meaningful!

  4. Wow, that first one really captures the helplessness of the young lady, it's beautifully done.
    Love the one with the flower and gloved hand. They are all a great tribute to the frontline workers.
    Thanks for contributing to Monday Murals Jackie.


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