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Street art and important conversations

By Claudine Gagné

Street art is a world and a culture unto itself. This contemporary movement emerged at the end of the last century in cities like Melbourne, Lisbon, New York and Valencia. Every “hip” city in the world has its own collection of street art, and Abitibi-Témiscamingue is no exception, with works of art to be found all over town! And Rouyn-Noranda now boasts its very own mural by Mique Michelle.

Who’s behind the bird mural?
On 10e rue in Rouyn-Noranda, you’ll notice a section of the Youville pavilion painted with a scene of a pair of sandhill cranes gazing out at you curiously, in the shade of a colourful cedar tree. So, who’s the talented graffiti artist behind the multi-coloured mural? Mique is originally from West Nippissing, specifically the peaceful town of Field, in rural northern Ontario. She was brave enough to venture across the Ontario-Quebec border to paint a mural here! But don’t worry, everything went smoothly!

Socially engaged art
While there’s no doubt her art livens up our beautiful region, it was also a great excuse to talk about important issues with the students at École secondaire La Source. Mique spoke to them about the hip-hop movement and where it came from, but also about climate change, racism, homophobia, sexism and other topics that she tackles and speaks out against through her art. The students put their shoulder to the wheel—or rather their hand to the brush—to bring the mural to life.

Abitibi-Témiscamingue: an open-air museum

While the Corporation de La maison Dumulon commissioned the project, it was the Musée d’art de Rouyn-Noranda - MA that made it happen. The mural by Mique Michelle and the students from La Source can be found on the back wall of Hôpital Rouyn-Noranda’s Youville pavilion, on 10e rue, across from the school. There are a number of artworks that have left their mark on Abitibi-Témiscamingue. It’s impossible to list them all, but see here for a few!

Photos: Mique Michelle