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Photos on the street

January 5, 2012

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Can you read a MAP? This one will guide you to the Mouvement Art Public, a nonprofit organization that promotes art with the same techniques commonly used for advertising. To put it another way, MAP integrates art with public spaces, with the everyday life of citizens.

You want to know the way? Navigate to the exhibit currently running at Place Émilie-Gamelin in the Quartier des Spectacles. It's definitely on the MAP.

By Marie-Christine Beaudry
Running along Sainte-Catherine Street, between Berri and Saint-Hubert streets, a series of large black panels display a photo exhibit presenting the work of two artists: Pierre Manning and Jean-François Lemire.

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Photo credit: Frédérique Ménard-Aubin
The first photographer offers a series of images entitled Saltare in Banco. In the shots, we see models dressed and made up like street clowns. With their sad faces, deep gazes, and colourful and exaggerated makeup, the youthful models give the images an arresting beauty. Among his other talents, Pierre Manning is highly regarded for the aesthetic simplicity of his work.

The second photographer, Jean-François Lemire, presents some images from Tent City, an encampment lost between two highways in the US city of Detroit. This stranded lot shelters a gathering of the homeless, from workers who can't afford housing to welfare recipients. These photos, too, present the faces of Tent City inhabitants with a simple, arresting beauty.

An accidental coincidence with the Occupy movement

MAP vice-president and cofounder Claude Marrié tells us that the exhibit at Place Émilie-Gamelin has nothing to do with the Occupy Montreal movement. The exhibit has been planned for a long while, and it's merely by happenstance that it went up just as the tents in Victoria Square came down.

In any case, the images in Tent City themselves support the global social message currently borne by the Occupy movement. It's a fortunate coincidence.

The fundamental goal of this MAP exhibition is to shed some light on the artists of the street, both those who are there by choice and those who aren't. They hope to show both sides of the coin: one one side, the public performers whose art lives on the street, and on the other, the people whose art is to live on the street itself.

This winter, take a winter stroll to see these magnificent images, on display right next to Éclats de verre, and live the MAP experience: free art, accessible to all.

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