A rendering of the public art mural that will be installed on a new building on Division Street in Kingston. Photo courtesy of Peru Dyer Jalea.

By: Karim Mosna, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A new public art mural will soon be installed in Downtown Kingston. Internationally renowned muralist and graphic artist Peru Dyer Jalea will begin constructing his mural Kingston: A Moment in the City on Monday. 

The public art installation is a partnership between The City of Kingston and real estate company Highpoint Developments.The City of Kingston supported the artist selection and commissioning process, while Highpoint Developments is funding the project, and will own the mural once it is installed. Two artists were shortlisted by a jury, Jalea says he was surprised that his mural was chosen.

“I was the runner up with another artist from Ottawa. His proposal was a figurative design which often wins…My approach is always abstract which is not always what the community wants because it takes a certain kind of sensitivity to grasp the energy of the design,” says Jalea.

Jalea says the design is rooted in his almost 30 years of doing graffiti art. He adds, the design is a text abstraction of the word “Kingston.” The mural will be installed at a new residential building at 168 Division Street, which is at the intersection of Division and Princess Street.

“I hope it sparks a little joy, love and pride for the natural heritage that make up Kingston…This building is at an intersection that is highly transited and will be highly visible, I find a lot of these landmarks in our cities end up being something we just pass by…I always hope I capture people’s attention long enough to meditate on what they’ve seen…Furthermore if they can have a conversation about the art piece itself, I find that’s really important as a society,” says Jalea.

Jalea says he has seen communities change when these murals were put up.

“They might repaint a fence across the street or take care of a project they’ve put off for years…They stop throwing cigarette butts in that corner because there’s something in them that makes them feel it’s not right to desecrate a fresh new mural or building or sculpture, I think there’s a lot to say about decorating our communities…The more colour you put in a city, the brighter our lives will feel,” says Jalea.

The mural is scheduled for completion by Friday.