See Shepherd Fairey’s Earth Justice mural beginning August 7

Shepherd Fairey in front of one of his murals.

On Aug. 7, Burrard Arts Foundation will launch its Surface Series with Earth Justice. The mural spans 20-storeys and 10,000 square feet and is a work by Shepard Fairey, the American graphic artist and social activist best known for his Barack Obama portrait Hope (see below). Fairey’s piece will be viewable at Burrard and Georgia, and is a part of the artist’s Earth Crisis series, a body of work centered on the concept that this generation is facing an environmental crisis. The mural launch will coincide with an art exhibition at Burrard Arts Foundation (258 E. 1st Ave) featuring Shepard’s work titled Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent

According to a media release, Surface Series will feature prominent national and international contemporary artists practicing in a variety of mediums. The project’s goal is to “spark generative social dialogue through contemporary art while improving the urban environment and civic space through creative placemaking.”

The inaugural Surface Series commission featuring Shepard Fairey is presented in partnership with the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and in collaboration with this year’s Vancouver Mural Festival. The festival will also be producing 25 new murals during their 10 days of events (Aug. 1-10).

Fairey has exhibited at, and is in the collections of, institutions like the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Warhol Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and numerous others. This will be the first mural in Vancouver for Fairey and will coincide with the launch of his art exhibition, Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent, at Burrard Arts Foundation.

“I chose this mural Earth Justice, which is about respecting and preserving the Earth, for Vancouver for multiple reasons,” Fairey says in the media release. “Vancouver is a place with a lot of natural beauty and an environmentally-themed mural is a reminder to maintain the conditions that not only protect that specific beauty but protect the climate and the environment in general. The tall, vertical format of the building lends itself to this artwork, and I think the message is one that works for Vancouver but also works globally. We are all connected, and our actions impact the entire planet.”

The mural launch will coincide with an art exhibition at Burrard Arts Foundation featuring Shepard’s work titled Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the OBEY GIANT art campaign. These works address recurring topics in Shepard Fairey’s career such as phenomenology, self-empowerment, rebellion, abuse of power, environmental destruction, racism, gender inequality, xenophobia, campaign finance reform, the military industrial complex, propaganda, war and peace, and economic imperialism. The show will feature the Facing the Giant series of 30 selected 30 x 41-inch hand painted multiples (HPMs), which are prints on collaged backgrounds with additional stenciling and embellishments, as well as newer works. The exhibition runs Aug. 8-Sept 28.

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