Mural Painted in Pointe-St.-Charles Shows Solidarity With Global Protests

Montreal Artists Collage and Paint to Bring Awareness to Global Unrest

Artists gather to show support for the protests happening globally. Photo Esteban Cuevas

A mural painted on 2140 Grand Trunk St. in Pointe-St.-Charles by various communities of artists and activists proclaimed one main message: “We connect.”

The mural, organized by Action Free Hong Kong Montreal, is a project aiming to unite those from different countries currently protesting for different causes that are ultimately
very similar.

Illustrations referring to protests in Chile, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, France, and Catalonia were spread across the wall space, painted by Montrealers of all backgrounds that came to contribute to the message.

Using a legal mural space, local artists collaged and painted the wall as an act of artistic resistance to reflect these worldwide struggles for human rights.

The mural painting started on Sunday, Nov. 3 and continued the following weekend.

Action Free Hong Kong Montreal had a strong presence at the demonstration, but the event has not dedicated to them. Photo Esteban Cuevas

“Today’s event is not just about Hong Kong. ‘We connect’ is really about connecting with other groups facing similar oppressions,” said an illustrator who would like to be identified as Pomelo. They are also a member of Action Free Hong Kong.

Action Free Hong Kong is a group that supports the democratic movement currently taking place in Hong Kong, and aims to inform the general public about the political situation there.

Being a lover of the arts, Pomelo explained the beauty of spreading social awareness through mural art can be refreshing and empowering during a time where we are flooded with images of struggle and strife.

“The bad news and negativity we are seeing in the media needs to be counterbalanced with images of hope and positive action so that we have less of a nihilist attitude where we feel our voice doesn’t matter,” they explained.

“This mural is done to remind people that you can make a choice between love and kindness or selfishness and brutality.” —Pomelo

In June, two million people marched peacefully in Hong Kong to protest a proposed bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. The peaceful demonstrations were met with violence and brutality from police, including the use of tear gas, pepper spray, batons and water cannons. From there, the movement evolved into an even larger call-to action in the streets.

“The blow up now really is the fruit of the last few decades, the silent aftermath of the Cold War,” explains Pomelo, who grew up in Hong Kong and moved back to Canada at age 18.

“We’ve seen mainland China doing effective propaganda-smearing claiming that we are fighting for Hong Kong independence. This is simply not true,” they said.

According to Pomelo, Hong Kong demonstrators are calling for change with five demands: “Retracting the extradition bill fully, establishing investigative committees for police brutality, retracting the term ‘rioters,’ giving amnesty to protesters arrested and implementing dual suffrage for chief executive positions and legislative council.”

An artist leaves their mark on the mural. Photo Esteban Cuevas

Amid the recent protests there have been countless reported cases of police brutality, arrests, missing people and mysterious suicide cases.

“Most people know these missing people have been murdered by the Hong Kong police and it’s messed up,” said Pomelo. “It’s a really grim situation and I can’t stress this enough.”

All are welcome to contribute a positive message to the wall.

“This mural is done to remind people that you can make a choice between love and kindness or selfishness and brutality. There’s always a choice. Reality encompasses all of these choices.”