The Art Alley Mural Project

    Photo credit: Susan Ashukian

Arts Etobicoke and Amnesty International
Unveil Toronto`s Longest Outdoor Poem

Please join us on October 19, 2010 at 2 pm at the Arts Etobicoke Gallery at 4893A Dundas St. W. as we unveil a 1000 square foot mural in the alley adjacent to our office. The mural features a newly commissioned poem by Dionne Brand, City of Toronto Poet Laureate.

Special guest Mayor David Miller will join Ms. Brand for a "walking reading" of the poem. The event also includes an African drum and dance procession featuring Roshanak Jaberi, an Iranian-Canadian dancer and choreographer who specializes in the folkloric and contemporary dances of West Africa and examines social issues through the art of storytelling. Off the Wall, an interactive and movement-based exhibition that also features artwork inspired by the mural and created by youth participating in our Saturday Storefront Art Classes will be on display in our Gallery.

The Art Alley Mural Project is produced by Arts Etobicoke, participating in Amnesty International's Project: Urban Canvas – A mural series celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Project: Urban Canvas will produce 30 murals throughout the GTA, each interpreting one of the 30 articles of human rights. The Art Alley Mural is the twelfth mural to be developed in the project.

We chose Article 13 for the theme of its mural - “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” The article holds special meaning for the large immigrant population in Etobicoke and for youth, who have worked with Arts Etobicoke to create their own interpretation of the poem. The mural was designed by Susan Rowe Harrison and painted by William Lazos with assistance by Etobicoke youth.

Dionne Brand, City of Toronto’s Poet Laureate, was commissioned to write an original poem based on this article. Brand's poem 'Article 13' is reproduced on the websites of Arts Etobicoke and AITO at

"Creativity is bubbling west of the Humber River," says Louise Garfield, Executive Director of Arts Etobicoke. "We are delighted to partner with Amnesty International Toronto to raise awareness of the intersection of the arts and human rights."

Elena Dumitru, Toronto Regional Development Coordinator for AITO adds “Partnering with Arts Etobicoke in creating a mural to depict Article 13 enable all of us to bring attention to the plight of migrants and refugees through the combined mediums of poetry and visual arts.”

Video and film editor Joel Shecter of AITO's Art in Action team documented the progress of the mural. Click on the link to view the video:

Arts Etobicoke gratefully acknowledges the support of City of Toronto's Arts in the Hood/Live with Culture, Pierre Seunik, the buildings’ owner and Chair of the Islington Village BIA and Village Paint in Islington Village. Thanks also to volunteer Karina Dahlin for contributing her time and energy to this project.

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