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Artfull Urbanites

This tag is associated with 43 posts

Art, Activism, and the Brazillian Favela

In Rio a pair of Dutch artists and a paint company have triggered a change in the urban landscape of Rio. The artists had an idea to change the living environment of the Favela as a means to try and change how residents and the city at large related with the slum. After the success of the first couple of projects the Coral paint company got on board and now the slum is becoming known for something other then its drug trade.

A favela is the generally used term for a shanty town in Brazil. The name ‘favela’ comes from a tree commonly found on the side of hills in sub-tropical regions named the favela tree. As favelas are also often found on the sides of hills, the slang term ‘favela’ was formed. In the late 18th century, the first settlements were called bairros africanos (African neighborhoods), and they were the place where former slaves with no land ownership and no options for work lived. Over the years, many freed black slaves moved in. However, before the first settlement called “favela” came into being, poor blacks were pushed away from downtown into the far suburbs. Most modern favelas appeared in the 1970s, due to rural exodus, when many people left rural areas of Brazil and moved to cities.

From Wiki.

Learn more at the organization’s website. FP Favela Painting.

Princess Hijab

Princess Hijab has become one of Paris’s most controversial and hard to identify street artists. She is Paris’s answer to British guerrilla graffiti artist Banksy, though in many ways she is more controversial. Princess Hijab chooses to focus on one major issue in the French capital and it’s a hot potato; immigration and the Niqab. In case you haven’ been paying attention to the news coming out of France lately the Hijab, Niqab, and Burqa have become hot button issues in the resolutely secular republic and have ignited a firestorm over immigration, women’s rights, islamophobia and civil liberties. Last month the government approved the so called “burqa ban” which means that starting in the new year women will be banned from wearing any full-face Muslim veils in public, not just in government offices but anywhere outside of their own homes. The government argues that the ban it its way of protecting women’s rights and making it impossible for Muslim women to be forced by men to cover their faces.

This makes Princess Hijab’s particular bent of graffiti art all the more subversive in the French capital as her signature is painting the veil onto fashion advertisements. It isn’t just the advertisements that feature women who are being niqabed. Princess Hijab also gives the veil to men as well. The first graffiti veil to appear was a niqab painted onto a poster for an album cover of one of France’s most famous female rappers, Diam. In an interesting turn of events said rapper has actually turned to Islam and is now wearing the veil herself.

The Identity of Princess Hijab remains a mystery and while she did recently grant an interview to the Guardian, the report was inconclusive about her identity.
At the moment Princess Hijab is only hitting about four or five advertisements per year that tend to last only about 45 minutes before being ripped down by Paris Metro officials but each of her interventions is carefully photographed and most of them circulate online. Whether you agree with the “burqa ban” or not Princes Hijab is certainly trying to make you think about it.


The Sydney Morning Herald.

The Guardian

Babel Tales: Peter Funch’s look at life at street level.

Peter Funch is a Danish Photojournalist who resides in New York city. One of his recent works is the series ‘BABEL TALES’ which is a sometimes gritty, at other times whimsical look at urban inhabitants. Using composite photography he catches; a bride on her way down the street, a frenzy of tourists at times square, or a pimp daddy on his way home his photos offer an intriguing look at what happens on street level. Here at Urban Neighbourhood we bring you a selection of his works, but highly recommend you go to his own gallery to see the complete collection.

Babel Tales as a series of works that focus on human relations (or the lack thereof) in big cities. Peter Funch’s project is a junction between documentary photography and manipulated photography. Through repetition and juxtaposition he zooms in on human similarities and collective behavior and ends up creating a strange poetic and detailed picture of our presence both as individuals and community in the public sphere.

Jesper Elg, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen

Roadsworth: Crossing the Line

Over a period of three years, the stencil artist Peter Gibson, aka Roadsworth, made his mark on Montreal in the early hours of the morning by launching a self-described “attack on the streets.” Armed with spray paint and handmade stencils, he began to play with the language of the streets, overlaying city asphalt markings with his own images: a crosswalk became a giant boot print, vines choked up traffic dividers, and electrical plugs filled parking spots. Each piece begged the question, Who owns public space?

The Portrait Building, a new face in architecture.

For years buildings have been covered with imagery; signs, graffiti, and advertisements are commonplace on the sides of buildings, but something new is about to happen in Melbourne Australia. The city has a proposal for a building that is itself an image. A 32 storey apartment block proposed as part of the development on the former Carlton & United Brewery site in Melbourne Australia, named the Portrait building will feature an architectural first, the contouring of the building’s balconies and the play of light and shade  will feature the face of indigenous leader William Barak when viewed from the correct angle.

It is an ingenious idea really, while other buildings have featured screen prints of landscapes, think Bjarke Ingles Mountain Dwellings, and others have featured contoured balconies like the Aqua building this building will be the first to combine the two if completed in 2014.

The best line of sight for viewing the image will be from the Shrine of Remembrance, Victoria’s largest and most visited war memorial which is approximately 3 km away. When viewed from close up the building will simply appear to have an oddly contoured facade. The portrait will be created using a number of horizontal white panels that have been cut to make Mr Barak’s face to appear via positive and negative space. The panels will be distanced from the balconies themselves so that residents will not accidentally make Mr Barak appear to cry by hanging a towel in the wrong place.

The building design is by Australian architecture firm ARM and its principal architects; Steve Ashton, Howard Raggatt, and Ian McDougall. The brewery project is a five building development by Australian firm Grocon who is firmly behind paying tribute to an important figure in Australian history.  Grocon’s representative for the Carlton Brewery site, David Waldren states: ”That technique and that idea has not been delivered anywhere in the world before to the best of our knowledge. It is a world first.” … ”It’s not meant to be that from every angle you will get the perfect image of it; it’s that you will get the perfect image in glimpses.” Mr Grollo, and by extension Grocon see the building as an important social statement, and have received the blessing of both the Wurundjeri elders and the trustees of the Shrine of Remembrance. S

William Barak (c. 1824 – 15 August 1903), was the last traditional ngurungaeta (elder) of the Wurundjeri tribe, which was based around the area of present-day Melbourne, Australia. He became an influential spokesman for Aboriginal social justice and is considered to have been instrumental in bridging the gap between aboriginal and white cultures. Barak is now best remembered for his artworks, which show both traditional Indigenous life and encounters with Europeans. wiki

The ARM architecture firm has attempted buildings with portraits on their facades in the past,  the Dupain Building and 347 Camberwell Road however, neither of these projects were completed. Currently the Portrait Building is still in the planning approval process, so we can only hope that it will not meet the same fate.

The Mitten Field

A Field of Mittens Appears in St Henri.

The lot at the corner of Rue Saint Philippe and Rue Notre Dame spends most of the year as a ‘sort of’ green space that people mostly just cut across when they are heading to and from the Metro and Rue Saint Philippe. Every so often though one of the resident artists finds a way to turn it into an impromptu art space. One of these installations was a vast collection of mittens in various states of attention, most straight up, some on their way to the ground and some already there.
The mittens were of varying shape colour and size, most likely found in a bargain bin maybe or a lost and found? Whatever their origin they were a great addition to the neighbourhood before time and destructive individuals removed them.

*If you are the artist responsible for the mitten field please email us at: urbanneighbourhood@yahoo.ca so we can give you your due!

Adaptive Street Art

Street art isn’t a new phenomenon, graffiti art has been around for centuries, and street artists like Banksy, transition from street artist to fine art and back. The Toronto Sun has a great little slide show of artist Sandrine Estrade Boulet’s public art works that range from irreverent to cute to naughty. Her works embrace their surroundings and incorporate physical features in the environment.  Her Cheerleader stencil makes use of a pair of grass tufts peeking through the side walk, while a pile of garbage bags forms a cheering section along the side of the road. Its fun and ironic and a pleasure to look at.

Take a look at the full slide show over at the Toronto Sun.

The Red Chair

Concept art by Doug Williams

Slow As A Beard!

'Slow As A Beard'

Graffiti with a turn of phrase about the time factor involved with beards. Seen painted on the Jersey barrier on the edge of the parking lot next to the St Henri Metro station in Montreal.

Futurama – your dream stagecoach.

On Sunday March 8th 2010 Jeremy Dean made New york City history by taking his converted Hummer entitled Futurama out for a spin. Entering Central park in New York at 69th St. and Central Park West (at the old Tavern on the Green location) Dean had his hand crafted vehicle pulled by two white horse aptly named Duke and Diesel.

Dean has taken a gas guzzling 8 mile-per-gallon HUMMER H2, a symbol of extravagance, and converted it into a working horse drawn cart. Dean has pimped it out with silver chrome, working LED lights and a booming audio and video system. He calls this piece the CEO Stagecoach.

Location View: Jeremy Dean, CEO Stagecoach, Central Park, New York, NY. 2010
videographer Gareth Paul Cox, editor Diego del Sol
video courtesy of {CTS} creative thriftshop, New York.

to view more on this project please visit: http://www.creativethriftshop.com

Robo Building

Spotted at an Art show in Seoul, a concept for the next big piece of starchitecture. Photo by Nathan Hudon

Roadside Fries

A street artist in Seoul leaves an impromptu installation on the side of an alley in Seoul. Photo by Nathan Hudon


Lumitectura from barno on Vimeo.

A music video about the relation of light, music and architecture.

Music by Saltillo
“The Opening” from the album Ganglion.


Over at KubatON.com. Taking time to lean out of the window and play with the cars in the parking lot below.

The Urban Dinosaur

Tyrannosaurus Rex spotted in a park in Seoul.