RUES DE MONTRÉAL
Since May of 2014 when I moved to Vancouver, I’ve always heard from Canadians that I should visit Montréal. Everyone has always said that I’d fall in love with the city, and another face of the country. In May of 2017, after graduating from my diploma in professional photography at Langara, I felt myself prepared and closer to the opportunity. In July of 2017, I flew to Toronto, where I spent one week and then after that, I took a bus to Montréal.
I arrived there to rain (bad luck for someone who lives in Vancouver), but I had faith that the weather would get better in the next days. I was privileged to be hosted by a friend, which allowed me to immerse even more into the French-Canadian culture. My Friend, Valérie, gave me a city map and lots of tips of must-visit places. The hospitality and cultural richness of the Québécois began to impress this Brazilian who felt at home since the very first day in the city. I felt like staying.
One of the things that attracted me most in Montréal was certainly the Mural Festival. This street art festival, which happens annually since 2013, attracts more than 1 million visitors and counts on international artists like the American Ron English, the British INSA, the Spanish Ricardo Cavolo, among many other respected muralists. With a portfolio of more than 80 murals and installations located mainly in the area of Boulevard Saint-Laurent, the festival's mission is to celebrate creativity and democratization of urban art, providing even a mobile app for free download for the visitors. I spent 2 days wandering around the streets and appreciating the murals of the city, and I can without a doubt say that Montréal raises the bar of street art to a whole other level.
And the more I’d walk around the streets, the more I’d fall in love for Montréal. The city was able to reignite my passion for street photography by surprising me at every corner. The Québécois have a sense of occupation of public space and unusual freedom of expression. As if the streets were a film set rolling many films of real life at the same time.
Celebrating its 375th anniversary, there were events and parties around the city almost daily. In downtown, at Quartier des Spectacles, the streets were closed and turned into open air stages with comedians, magicians, street performers and artists expressing their talents in so many different ways. Besides the good food and drinks being sold by the vendors. It was impossible to get bored in the streets of this incredible city.
And when I thought I had seen everything, Montréal would surprise me again. Considered the largest open air theatre in North America, Montréal contains 60 of the best street theatre troupes in the world, performing around 800 shows across the city. Included within this number of street theatre troupes is the French company Ilotopie, which is absolutely out of this world. Founded in 1979, Ilotopie uses public spaces as its stages, and is driven by artistic invention and intervention. By bringing their show “Colored People” to the streets of Montréal, the French group would break the gray routine of the city through artists painted from head to toe in blue turquoise, bright red, apple green, lemon yellow and fuchsia pink.
Interacting with common citizens through gestures and poses, the "Coloured People" don’t need to say anything to leave their message that the street is not only a place to move from home to work, but also to be freely occupied by anyone who has something to express to the world. The street is for everyone, because the space is public.
Merci beaucoup Montréal, à nous la rue!
Rues de Montréal is participating in the Capture Photography Festival 2018! Check out the exhibition hours and locations below:
Alliance Française de Vancouver - 6161 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC
Opening Night: March 13th / 6pm - 9pm
Exhibit: March 12th - April 13th
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am - 7pm / Sat 9:30am - 3:30pm
Dunn's Famous BC Restaurant - 827 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC
Exhibit: April 16th - June 16th
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am - 9pm / Sun 11am - 8pm