Colombian artists unveil stunning international mural in the Glebe

August 21, 2018 | by glebeadmin

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Their goal is to create 25 murals in 25 cities throughout the world, and two Colombian artists have just put their stamp on Ottawa.

Muralists Santiago Castro, Sebastián García and their Artistic Director for their Vertigo Graffiti Project Camilo Fidel López traveled from Bogota earlier this month to start work on a large-scale mural in the Glebe – and after a week of painting, the international art piece can be seen splashed on the side of Il Negozio Nicastro at Bank Street and Third Avenue.

The piece, titled, “Wild Read,” depicts a wild bison that has come to life through the imagination of a child reading a book, and connects the two countries through the biodiversity they share.

Vertigo Artistic Director López says the piece conveys a Colombian take on Canadian culture, and not the other way around.

“We didn’t want to create a Colombian representation made by Colombians, we wanted to create a Canadian representation of Canadian icons, made by Colombian artists,” he says.

“When we were sketching out the design, we realized two important things: First, the biodiversity which connects Colombia to Canada, and all these ancestral movements and mythological representations. So, we decided to connect the environmental with magical thinking as a way to connect the two countries.

“It’s a celebration of magical thinking. The bison is coming out of the book.”

There are a total of seven artists working under the Vertigo Graffiti Project that have completed murals in Colombia and Belgium with this Ottawa mural being the first of its kind in North America. The goal is to promote Colombia as a destination for graffiti art, as the creative outlet gives artists a way to express themselves, while taking on difficult subjects that are often uncomfortable to discuss.

“In Colombia, street art is huge. It’s our favourite way to express ourselves,” adds López. “It gives you a certain identity of the city and gives you real information about certain subjects that aren’t contemplated by traditional media.

“When you walk through the streets of Bogota, you are witnessing the real Bogota. And sometimes the subjects are uncomfortable – violence, racial segregation, the neglect of indigenous people.”

The Glebe painting was done through a partnership with the Embassy of Colombia to Canada, Sleepwell Management and the Glebe BIA.

“Wild Read” is the third mural that has splashed up in the Glebe this year, as Ottawa artist Jocelyn Galipeau created a stunning bright painting of a flower sprouting over top of a map of the Glebe at the back of Hair on Second Avenue while painter Golbon Moltaji has stroked together a gorgeous piece of a man on a bike kissing a winged fairy on the second story wall of JD Adam.

These signature pieces add to the already stunning roster of murals that can be found throughout the Glebe. Collectively, these public art pieces bring spaces to life, beautify the area, and deter vandalism throughout the neighbourhood.

The Glebe BIA, in partnership with the Embassy of Colombia to Canada and Sleepwell Management are officially unveiling the Vertigo mural this Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Il Negozio Nicastro at 792 Bank Street. Everyone is welcome to attend the official ribbon-cutting ceremony and help us celebrate art, culture and heritage in the Glebe.