A NEW THOUGHT-PROVOKING PROJECT from Yorkville Murals implores the community to choose joy and hope over violence and despair. “Generally Speaking” by Nina Chanel Abney is the artist’s first public art work in Canada. Installed in Toronto’s Yorkville district, the 120-foot street mural (one-third the length of a football field) is replete with the graphic shapes, text, and icons that define Abney’s urgent and energetic visual language.

Her poignant messages declaring “Stop,” “Don’t Kill,” and “Love,” have occurred in previous public art installations. Abney, who lives and works in New York City, has created murals in communities throughout the world, including Portland, Ore.; Detroit, Mich.; Bentonville, Ark.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Newark, N.J.; Coney Island, N.Y.; Lyon, France; and Gwangju, South Korea.

Curated by Toronto-based Ashley McKenzie-Barnes, Abney’s current mural offers a symbolic salve for the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for racial justice that have escalated over the past year. A collaboration between an artist and curator who each identify as queer women, the work also seeks to raise awareness about cultural- and gender-based hate. The mural project is part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art.

In a curatorial statement, McKenzie-Barnes said “Generally Speaking” is “asking pedestrians to ‘stop’ for a moment of consideration on how we can embark on a communal process of healing through art and intentional contemplation.” CT

 

TOP IMAGE: NINA CHANEL ABNEY, Installation view of “Generally Speaking,” 2021 | © Nina Chanel Abney, Courtesy the artist and Yorkville Murals

 

“Generally Speaking,” by Nina Chanel Abney in Yorkville, Toronto, Canada, is curated by Ashley McKenzie-Barnes, presented in partnership with Yorkville Murals and D.PE Sho Art Foundation, and on view through November 2021

 


Detail of “Generally Speaking” (2021) by NINA CHANEL ABNEY. The mural declares “Stop,” “Don’t Kill,” and “Love.” | © Nina Chanel Abney, Courtesy the artist and Yorkville Murals

 


Teaser for Nina Chanel Abney’s “Generally Speaking” street mural showcases the graphic messaging a vivid color story. | Video by Ashley McKenzie-Barnes

 


The mural is installed in the Yorkville district of Toronto, located on Bellair Street between Yorkville Ave and Cumberland. | © Nina Chanel Abney, Courtesy the artist and Yorkville Murals

 


NINA CHANEL ABNEY, Detail of “Generally Speaking,” 2021, Yorkville, Toronto. | © Nina Chanel Abney, Courtesy the artist and Yorkville Murals

 


Installation of the mural in Yorkville is intentional. Once a nexus of socio-political awareness, emerging musical talent, pop culture, and urbanism, the district is now an exclusive shopping and entertainment destination. The mural and its message act as an intervention in Yorkville’s reconciliation with its roots. | © Nina Chanel Abney, Courtesy the artist and Yorkville Murals

 


NINA CHANEL ABNEY, Detail of “Generally Speaking,” 2021, Yorkville, Toronto. | © Nina Chanel Abney, Courtesy the artist and Yorkville Murals

 


Aerial views of Nina Chanel Abney’s “Generally Speaking” street mural reveal the scope and scale of the public art work. | Video by Ashley McKenzie-Barnes

 

BOOKSHELF
“Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush” accompanied the artist’s first solo museum exhibition, which was organized by Marshall Price. The fully illustrated catalog includes a preface by Richard J. Powell, critical essays by Price and Natalie Y. Moore, and an interview with Nina Chanel Abney conducted by Jamillah James.

 

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