Said organizer Jay Sivakumar, a BA candidate at the University of Windsor, the four-by-two foot murals will focus on social issues.
“We are hoping to have youth construct murals which address issues such as barriers to social inclusion that can be conveyed through politically-influenced murals that identify systemic issues,” he said.
Sivakumar didn’t define what politically-influenced might mean but on the project’s website says art projects are “attempts to have individuals draw from their own lived experiences and explore what it means to be a community member.”
Sivakumar also represents a group known as Together We Flourish and its community garden, located at the Islamic Centre at 5420 Empress St., the logo of which shows two fists clenching flowers.
Together We Flourish describes itself as a “youth-led grassroots organization dedicated to engaging and empowering communities.”
Asked if this is a way to draw youth away from street graffiti Sivakumar said “not necessarily.”
Instead it’s “to embrace a contemporary mode of art, in which youth are already comfortable, and to showcase it to the community.”
By doing so it will create a,” safe space,” he said.
It will also allow “observers of the art to question and contemplate the ideas put forth by youth.”
The contest deadline is May 17th which coincides with a community block party.
Sivakumar said some local high schools are also participating.
Sivakumar and co-organizer Lina Chaker received funding from the Toronto-based Laidlaw Foundation.
The foundation funds projects which focus on youth with themes of “civic engagement,” “diversity” and “inclusion.”
The Laidlaw Foundation dates from 1949 and is named after the founding family, owners of the former Laidlaw Lumber Co., sold to Canadian forestry giant MacMillan-Bloedel in 1972, in turn sold to US-based Weyerhaeuser in 1999.