Alice Pasquini: Murals for hope graffiti’s power to exude love

Art has the power to express the unspoken. When it comes to the work of world-renowned artist Alice Pasquini, her admiration for storytelling has always been a vital part of her esthetic and projects.

From alleyways to enveloping buildings with her enchanting graffiti work, Alice Pasquini’s message has always been to spread stories of kindness and love to onlookers throughout the streets of popular cities.

Originating in Italy, Pasquini’s work can be found in places like her hometown of Rome, displaying portraits of young children whose smiles captivate you with a sense of welcoming, and of affectionate couples whose love radiates past the brick-and-mortar walls. Her portfolio of murals, paintings and illustrations bring real- life topics into a playing field larger than life, exploring the diverse emotions that society feels every day. Focusing on the brighter side of life, Pasquini gets her inspiration from acts of kindness and love, which she then integrates into her works. The pieces typically include various identities that resonate with her, like femininity and independence, and convey messages of peace, with women at the forefront.

Pasquini’s work can be seen all over the world, from London to Oslo to, most recently, Toronto — more specifically, Ossington and College streets. Commissioned by the College Promenade Business Improvement Association (BIA), Pasquini worked hand in hand with the association as a recipient of a City of Toronto grant awarded for this project, along with the support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto.

The downtown mural “is an inspiring reflection of the spirit of our vibrant and diverse neighbourhood and its historic roots,” says Julie Fass, chair of the College Promenade BIA.

Pasquini is a storyteller and works to include harmony and community within all her pieces. She says, “My art is about people and the way they connect to each other.” Because Pasquini’s art can be found worldwide, the imagery that is created brings her portfolio to another level of genius, tying all nations of the world together with the same message of unity. Pasquini breaks down the Toronto mural, sharing some insight into the work. “The theme of migration is central to my work, and, for this mural, I envision a mother carrying on her shoulders her little girl. The idea would be the transmission of cultural identity from one generation to the next.”

The mural speaks volumes, projecting its bold colours, enticing viewers to stop and digest the imagery. The commission is part of an initiative to beautify the west-end neighbourhood in Toronto, along with efforts to increase well- being for community members. Chair of the College Promenade BIA Julia Fass spoke on the efforts. “The College Promenade BIA has a mandate to promote economic development by enhancing the safety, beautification and feel of the neighbourhood.” She touched on what the mural means to her.“This mural is an inspiring reflection of the spirit of our vibrant and diverse neighbourhood and its historic roots.”

Pasquini’s mural shares stories of truth and inspiration with all who pass by. Veronica Manson, director of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, shared her admiration for Pasquini’s work. “The Istituto is proud to be a partner in this initiative,” she said. She continued, with humble gratitude, “We are very pleased that the collaboration among our three different entities has resulted in the presence of an artist of the calibre of Alice Pasquini, the most renowned Italian female street artist, whose work is recognized internationally.”

The mural is completed and open to the public. Be sure to look for it next time you are in the west end of Toronto!

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