Last fall, the world received a shock, in the form of a series of consequential and traumatic events in Paris, Lebanon Baghdad, and Mexico, among many others. Fortunately, humanity prevailed and global citizens rallied around each other pouring immense support and love into the hearts of all those who watched these catastrophic events unfold. The city of Paris continues to heal its wounds, and its citizens stand united together. Residents in the 10th Arrondissement are now painting the wall near the two cafes that were attacked. One morning, local artist Diana Kami felt a sudden urge to make art and began painting the wall (now called Le Mur de l’Amour). Others joined in and were granted permission from the local government to paint the wall. “The result is ‘Dessine-Moi un Bouquet,’ a community wide initiative that invited street and graffiti artists, as well as local residents and children, to cover the wall with images in response to the attacks.”
Here are some of their stories.
For her own contribution, Ms. Kami painted a forest of trees, their branches outstretched. “In nature, the hunter protects himself in the forest,” she said, “and the tree is life. It’s to protect the neighborhood.”
A self-described “pop graffiti” artist from the Parisian suburb of Villeparisis, Mr. Di Bona felt that it was important for him to paint the mur de l’amour, even though he knew it would be a painful experience. For the wall, Mr. Di Bona, 40, adapted Eugène Delacroix’s 1830 painting “Liberty Leading the People.” The figures in his painting are almost faceless, the details of their expressions intentionally obscured so that the image could “represent all French people.”
Flo, whose full name is Florent Dechartres, was born in northern Paris and lives two streets away from rue Alibert, said he took inspiration from the local children who had often doodled on the wall.painted a ladybug and then, the suggestion of two children he met at the wall, added silhouettes of cyclists, runners and dancers who could be seen as “n’importe qui,” or anyone at all. To evoke the innocence of children, he wrote “sois toi-meme, soit tu m’aimes,” two nearly homophonic French phrases that mean “be yourself” and “either you love me.”
The choice of English, Fusible said, was a universalist one; the red, white and blue colors were not a conscious reference to either the French or American flags. “Art, and when necessary, street art, is still a universal language,” he added. “It’s the best way to overcome borders, whether mental, moral or ideological.”Nonetheless, he said, “The situation is only worsening. The Charlie Hebdo attacks wounded freedom of expression, while Nov. 13 the freedom to simply live.”
To mourn the death of a colleague’s relative in the assault and hostage-taking at the Bataclan concert hall on Nov. 13, RESone painted an image of a girl with her eyes closed as “a sign of appeasement, of calm.”“It saddens me to see that we’re only able to come together through art like this only when events are truly tragic,” said RESone, who is Antillean by birth but “French above all else.”
Continue reading about these motivational residents.