It’s a sow of support for the anti-racism movement and protests Paint the City Black

Daniel Hall |

George Floyd, other prominent black figures illustrated in 'Paint the City Black' event

Dozens of local artists took to Graffiti Alley, filling the one-kilometre stretch with images of prominent Black figures and messages of solidarity with the anti-Black racism movement. Talia Ricci speaks to artists involved in creating the project “Paint the City Black.”  2:27


As thousands of protesters marched through downtown Toronto streets in protest of anti-black racism on Saturday, dozens of local artists instead took to Graffiti Alley, filling the one-kilometre stretch with illustrations of prominent black figures in a "show of solidarity" with the movement.

"Communities thrive when people come together," said Jessey Pacho, a Toronto graffiti artist who organized the "call to artists" on Saturday.

Pacho said the event, dubbed "Paint the City Black," was established as a peaceful protest, with the colour black as the main theme running through each individual piece.

Some 40 artists from around Canada participated in "a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement," he told CBC Toronto Saturday.

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Jessey Pacho, a Toronto graffiti artist, says residents in the area have been 'so supportive.' (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


The alley — which sits tucked between McDougall Lane and Augusta Avenue, near Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue — is a tourist hotspot after its buildings were gradually covered over the years with bright-coloured sketches and paintings.

Now joining those existing murals are illustrations of black figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose death sparked protests across the globe after he was pinned under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.

Demonstrations were held across Canada on Saturday, with many calling for police reform and an end to systemic racism.

You can read about Toronto's peaceful protests here.

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Moises Frank, who also helped organize Saturday's event in Graffiti Alley, said he put out a call to artists on Tuesday and received an overall swift and positive response.

"Next thing we knew we had 40 people, and more people trying to figure out how to give up space and offering to redo their wall," he said Saturday.

"It's a lot of people understanding that now's the time to say something ... We're coming together to say something important."

Saturday's event started with a painting of a black panther, Pacho said, with the words "All Power to the People" in honour of the Black Panther Party — a revolutionary organization known as being a "vanguard" of the civil rights movement.

"[It's] sort of a message that is important to bring in today's day in age with everything happening," Pacho said.

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A black panther pictured with the words 'All Power to the People.' (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


And the organizers say they don't want Paint the City Black to stop at Graffiti Ally.

Quite literally, Frank says he wants "the whole city painted black."

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An artist seen midway through painting a mural on Saturday. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


Check out some of the other photos offering a glimpse of the transformed space.

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A mural with the words 'I Can't Breathe.' (Submitted by Mike Schultz)


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One of the murals pictured here Sunday. (Submitted by Mike Schultz)


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A mural showing a cop car, a fire and a fist. (Submitted by Mike Schultz) 


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The finished version of a mural titled 'Jamal Francique.' (Submitted by Mike Schultz)


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Artists were mostly from Toronto, but some came from other parts of Ontario, Like London and Hamilton, to participate in the event. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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A completed mural pictured here Sunday. (Submitted by Mike Schultz)


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Artists seen grouped together painting Graffiti Alley on Saturday. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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Organizers say they encouraged artists to use their voices and talent to shed light on issues faced by the black community. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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Some artists painted faces of people, while others drew words. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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One of Graffiti Ally's murals seen here. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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A band performed in Graffiti Alley as artists went about their work on Saturday. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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Organizers say many artists who had existing pieces in Graffiti Ally offered to have them painted over. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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The idea for the event was sparked by recenet events in the U.S., according to organizers. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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Organizers say artists across Canada organized similar projects in show of support of Saturday's event. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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An artist paints a mural in the alley on Saturday. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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The band setting up on Saturday in the alley. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


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Co-organizer Moises Frank says graffiti artists put their 'politics aside for one day and realized that there's a bigger issue.' (Turgut Yeter/CBC)


Article Courtesy: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/artists-graffiti-alley-mural-anti-racism-movement-1.5602082

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