LA VIE DES NOIR.E.S COMPTE
A Collective of Montreal Artists Came Together to Create Giant Fresco in Support of Black Communities
This summer, Montreal is home to a giant mural in support of Black communities and the demands that have arisen since the killing of George Floyd in the United States. It is an initiative by Fondation Dynastie, which brings together many Montreal community organizations and artists. The project has been carried out with support from the City of Montreal and the Ministry of Culture and Communications—as part of the Agreement on the Cultural Development of Montréal—as well as from the Société de développement commercial du Village.
A Rallying Cry to Denounce Injustice
George Floyd’s death sparked great outcry and an unprecedented movement of solidarity around the world. #BlackLivesMatter has become the symbol of the denunciation of the injustice, discrimination, and inequality that Black communities around the world face.
“As has been the case in cities such as Washington, New York, and Los Angeles, chants of #BlackLivesMatter have had a strong impact in Montreal. We wanted to express our solidarity against racism and inequality by uniting our voices across borders through the power of art. This piece is intended to provide a space for positive conversations and a lasting reminder of the message of social justice that is at the heart of this movement,” said Carla Beauvais, Co-founder of Fondation Dynastie.
“For several years now, the Black Lives Matter movement has raised awareness of racism and discrimination experienced by our fellow citizens from Black communities, all while fighting for social justice. By supporting the creation of this piece, the City of Montreal wishes to express its solidarity with the movement and join its voice in declaring loud and clear that Black lives matter. Today, I reaffirm our deep commitment to combat racism and systemic discrimination by implementing the measures needed to make Montreal a city where all its citizens can live in dignity and reach their full potential,” noted Valérie Plante, Mayor of the City of Montreal.
“SDC du Village is very pleased to be home to the LA VIE DES NOIR.E.S COMPTE initiative. This is a particularly appropriate time for us to reiterate that our area is home to everyone, irrespective of the realities they face—whether they are racialized, marginalized, trans, migrants, or two-spirit. Our support is driven by a sustained commitment to fostering inclusion, intersectionality, and creativity, and to ensuring that the wide range of lifestyles and cultures in our community can meet and be manifested. Together, we cherish and celebrate what is ours—in its many permutations, and in a way that includes absolutely everyone,” noted Yannick Brouillette, Executive Director of SDC du Village.
Artists in Solidarity with the Anti-Racism Movement
Under the direction of Harry Julmice & Hanna Che (Never Was Average) and Niti Marcelle Mueth, nearly 20 artists have created a 7-by-100-metre mural that will stretch across Sainte Catherine Street, between Saint Hubert and Saint André.
Each letter in LA VIE DES NOIR.E.S COMPTE was painted by a different local artist, primarily using white paint and a specific colour palette to create a harmonious effect throughout. Voices from LGBTQ+ communities are centred in this piece: The letters in COMPTE were painted in the rainbow colour, thereby also alluding to the hope-filled “Ça va bien aller” message adopted at the beginning of the pandemic. The final letter of the fresco was painted by children from the LaSalle College daycare thanks to the generous permission of Guerlaine Guerrier.
Each of the letters in #BlackLivesMatter were painted by a Montreal organization that addresses issues of social inequality.
It will be the first time a street mural of this type will depict a French version of the #BlackLivesMatter slogan. This decision showcases Montreal’s unique linguistic landscape and will allow the piece to further stand out on an international level.
“Beyond the symbolism of it, we hope that this project can raise real awareness and bring about true social change in the fight against systemic racism,” said Marhilan Lopez of Black Lives Matter Montreal.
Drone shot of the LA VIE DES NOIR.E.S COMPTE fresco on Sainte Catherine Street (photo credit: Lëa-Kim, CC BY:SA)