Innovation That Matters

The building is covered in a colourful depiction of the Joe Pye wildflower. | Photo source Mona Caron

Muralist creates art-ivist work in New Jersey

Arts & Entertainment

A visual artist specialises in creating giant works of art that beautify but also highlight the nature of local communities

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Spotted: Visual artist Mona Caron creates multi-story murals in public spaces that coincide with social movements to create what she calls “art-ivism”. Her art reflects street actions and outreach with social and environmental movements. Caron’s latest project is a mural on the side of a New Jersey building, as part of her WEEDs series of installations, which celebrates resilience. 

The multi-story mural was commissioned as part of the Jersey City Mural Arts Program and is located on the side of a large building on Cottage Street in Jersey City. The mural, entitled Shauquethqueat’s Eutrochium, depicts a plant commonly called the Joe Pye, a wildflower native to the area, which belongs to the genus Eutrochium. Joe Pye, whose Mohican name was Shauquethqueat, refers to the western name of a 19th-century native American healer who used the plant in phytotherapy (the practice of using plant extracts in medicine). 

The mural is located in an industrial area and stands in stark contrast to the industrial feel of the building on which it is painted, with the flower’s vibrant pink and green hues juxtaposing the brown and grey of the surrounding area. The artist has described the mural as a dream in which nature is victorious, with plant life towering over human life, thereby “putting us back in our place”. It is a sobering reminder of the urgent need to preserve our natural environment.  

Caron explains that the anecdote about the origins of Joe Pye “works well with the questions I always like to raise with my  WEEDS series, regarding what belongs to the land and what doesn’t, who is invading and what is at home, in addition to thoughts about ways to overcome, to resist, to reconquer what has been lost and damaged through western human intervention.” 

Caron’s mural reveals how art can serve to remind us of what’s really important. Art’s didactic potential (in other words, not just as a commodity to be bought and sold) is exemplified in recent projects spotted by Springwise which use art to highlight social movements. These include a lamp that turns air pollution data into art and a project that allows people to listen to the secret life of trees

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Sustainability | Architecture and Design



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