During the height of the Spanish flu pandemic, afflicted Norwegian artist Edvard Munch painted a pair of self-portraits. In the first, he sits alone in a chair beside his rumpled bed, bundled in a robe, blankets covering his legs. His face is drained of color and his mouth hangs open, as if gasping for breath. In the second, painted after his recovery, he lists, seemingly exhausted, toward the viewer.
This article orginally appeared on Kickstart BIA.
At Toronto’s newest museum on Dundas West, there’s no umbrella storage or coat checks, no half-priced admission or well-dressed security kindly requesting you don’t touch the art. Instead, the works are all there in the street, a patchwork of murals telling the story of what and who the neighbourhood is and will be. The dundaswest.museum is an open-air street art museum. And it’s Toronto’s first.
“The city’s changing so fast, there’s so much development,” says Rodrigo Ardiles of the Creativo Arts Collective, which worked alongside the Lula Music and Arts Centre and Dundas West BIA and Little Portugal BIA to create the museum. “We talked to the people from the city and what the community is today – Portuguese, Vietnamese, Brazilian – and everybody really wanted to have a bit of their story stored in this place.”