CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO // QUEENS CREATION [MONTREAL]
From June 2nd to June 5th, Under Pressure with Fresh Paint Gallery presented the third edition of Queens Creation, an event celebrating the work and contribution of women in the urban arts culture. Breaking down barriers and eradicating stereotypes in what is falsely considered a predominantly male culture; women from the street art world combine their talent and forces to establish their presence in the industry. Decompoz was there to cover the four day event meeting with various artists shaping the urban arts landscape.
The opening conference stretched the importance of recognizing the place of women in the street art world. A panel made up of key figures such as Melissa Proietti, Founder of Queens Creation and Coordinator for the Under Pressure Festival, Kate Lynx, Coordinator for the dance and B-girl event, Shelley Miller, Visual artist, and Wüna Nawü, graffiti artist & B-Girl discussed the global absence of women in the urban culture and how to change the false perception that the industry is owned by men. They spoke on the needed efforts to make a change which includes better dialogue, more respect, more support with one another, more teachings, and more outreach through traditional and social media, are ways to change the culture and make it more inclusive for women.
The conference was followed by a vernissage featuring local and international artists specializing in different techniques such as graffiti, street art, doodle art, low brow, and illustration. Creations from MOS GEEZ, TooFly, ELLE Street Art, DalkhaFine, MaliciouZ, Sam Ectoplasm, Zofia Bogusz, and many others were on full display under the theme of ‘’Queen’’ in recognition to the role of woman in the realm of street art.
The second day featured the pop-up gallery Queens Creation while Wüna and Shelley Miller offered a workshop open to the public.
‘’I think women have their place in the urban culture, you have to take on the open opportunities. We don’t have to wait until men give us a hand. As a woman, we have this feeling where we might feel less legitimate, so we try less. Women have to learn how to gain confidence and not be scared of judgement,’’
says Wüna about women finding their place in the industry.
The third day of the event took place amidst the Wellington street sale, sparking the curiosity of bystanders. The afternoon was comprised of the art attack event featuring live mural painting organized by the Fresh Paint Gallery, while Kate Lynx took over a breakdance workshop for kids. Speaking to Kate, she gave us insight in what she wants to convey as a message: ‘’I want people to help break down the stereotypes we’ve been taught. Whether you’re a man or woman, as an artist my ambition is to be true to myself and to transmit whatever message I have through my art. What I hope is that people realize that masculine and feminine can be embodied by everybody, having a balance for everything, eliminating the stereotypes and sense of conformity.’’
The fourth and final day set the stage for an intense dance battle featuring local female dance crews, each one bringing different styles like breakdance, waacking, locking, and popping. Escaping the pouring rain, the festivities moved inside the Fresh Paint Gallery, the crowd was electric, bopping to the sounds of DJ Ruby Jane as the crews danced off in a single-elimination tournament in the middle of the gallery, the winning team claiming the grand prize of $200.
In the backdrop, local artists Mos Geez, I AM Batman, and MALICIOUZ adorned the view with a live painting session; the contrasting style of each piece created a stunning background to the dancing crowd. We had the chance to speak with Dalkhafine, a French artist now based in Montreal, who gave us her thoughts on her place as a female artist: ‘’Women inspire men, and men inspire women. Working all together is what elevates us. In general there are more men in the urban culture than women; for my part I don’t live it badly. I like evolving among artists, I never ask myself whether they are men or women, they’re just cool artists for me.’’ Mos Geez, an artist from Montreal mentioned her hopes of everyone being able to see her distinct style and how all the colors theme, and emotions on the pieces reflect her femininity.
Melissa Proietti, founder of Queens Creation and Coordinator for Under Pressure, spoke on the success of the event: ‘’Every year we’ve been able to accomplish a little bit more and we have more artists wanting to expose at the gallery and participate in the dance battles, and more people are able to come and learn more about what we do. I’m really happy and excited about the future of the event.’’
In another successful edition, Queens Creation put women in the forefront of the urban arts culture, showcasing talented artists, dancers, B-girls, and musicians, who are determined to carve their place and change the false perception of the industry. We look forward for the next edition who promises to offer more as Queens Creation keeps gaining steam.
Full Photo Gallery June 4 & 5