Once again this year, local and international artists are remodeling the urban landscape of New Brunswick’s largest city.

This international mural festival enables artists to create frescoes, interactive installations and other wall projections for 7 days to transform the city’s urban environment

Inspire Festival celebrates art in its most various forms, mixing street art, music and street shows. Local citizens and storekeepers will let themselves be carried away by these performances, curious to see how these influences from all over the world will be combined with their city’s specificities. Pop-up installations and permanent works will end up forming a fantastic setting that urges the public to participate and invest itself in collective works.

 These artistic techniques are part of a contextual art that doesn’t consist of a simple representation of reality in institutional exhibition spaces (art galleries), but rather of an improvement of reality in its original space (the street). Although it was considered subversive and marginal for a long time because it breaks down the spatio-temporal barriers between creation and perception of the work, urban art aims to promote the spontaneity of an action, carried out at a given moment in the presence of an audience.

 In 2019, French artist Oak Oak will contribute to the valorization of Moncton’s walls by offering to bring a smile on pedestrians’s faces with creations that will delight both amateurs and rookies.  Since 2006, the artist from Saint-Etienne has been diverting existing urban elements to recreate visuals that refer to digital and audiovisual cultures. The Eiffel Tower takes the shape of a gnome’s hat, manhole covers become arcade games, staircases are equipped with piano keys, wall cracks are transformed into a tightrope walker’s thread, while pedestrian crossings and the rest of street furniture (traffic signs, garbage chutes) come to life under the amused eyes of passers-by. No detail eludes the artist’s eye, who finds in the imperfections of the metropolitan areas tremendous opportunities for creation. By making the urban space its playground, Oak Oak infuses city-dwellers with good humor, and deft political messages, subtly diverted but explicit.

Oak Oak has exhibited in France at the Galerie Clemouchka in Lyon (2015), at the Cabinet d’Amateur (2015) and at the Lavo Matik (2016) in Paris. His work has been published in two books, one by Édition populaire (2011) and the other by Éditions Omaké (2014). Considered interesting to many contemporary art galleries abroad, his works were exhibited in 2012 at Steve Lazarides’ Outsider Gallery in Newcastle (United Kingdom), which also featured Banksy’s works. His work travelled to the Vertical Gallery in Chicago (2015), before moving on to brighten up the car parks at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam (2016). He often collaborates with other urban artists, such as Fra Biancoshock (Italy), The Wa (Germany), Bulbe (France) and Zabou (United Kingdom).

Come stroll through the streets of Moncton and admire the work of all the artists from July 8 to 13! If you can’t, we invite you to follow the news on our social networks:

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Anna ROHR, collaboratrice auprès du Consulat Général de France à Moncton et Halifax