Posts Tagged ‘crocodile’

an orange, or salmon, coloured wall with a window. in the window is a reflection of a pair of eyes from a large street art mural. under the window are two ladders lying horizontal.

On Dundas West, just west of Dufferin, there are two lanes with large murals by clandestinos.

One is the alley to the west of the Lulu Lounge where both sides are covered with fantastic paintings by fiya, shalak, and bruno smoky as well as a few others.  I blogged about it just over two years ago and here is the link to the original post, “life as the shadow of vida“.   Earlier this week I took another look at it – it’s still looking great and there have been no changes so I didn’t take any photos.

The other alley is nearby but on the north side of Dundas Street.  Actually, it’s hardly an alley, more like a driveway which made taking pictures of the whole mural difficult.   Also, if you are traveling eastbound on Dundas, you’d miss it.  Here are the pictures that I managed to take:

part of a large colourful mural by clandestinos smoky and shalak - close up of a large gorilla face

part of a large colourful mural by clandestinos smoky and shalak - a crocodile or alligator coming out of the water

part of a large colourful mural by clandestinos smoky and shalak - a small bird sitting on a rock by a creek

part of a large colourful mural by clandestinos smoky and shalak - bird, turtle and croodile in a nature scene

part of a large colourful mural by clandestinos smoky and shalak - a small bird on the base of a tree trunk

part of a large colourful mural by clandestinos smoky and shalak - a large bird with its wings out stretched getting ready to take off

part of a large colourful mural by clandestinos smoky and shalak - a turtle on a rock

part of a large colourful mural by clandestinos smoky and shalak - lareg greenleaves with their signature

You’ve probably never heard the word asafo before.  You probably have no idea what it means.

Until last week I didn’t know the word existed either.

I went to the Royal Ontario Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit.  There were 100 excellent pictures of insects, animals, marine life, the sort of thing you’d expect.  There was no photography allowed in that exhibit so I have no photos of the images on display.  You’ll have to take my word for it that I was there.

I can appreciate the skill and patience that it takes to capture rabbits in the snow or a school of fish in a certain light underwater but those kind of pictures don’t excite me.   That’s not to diminish the work of the photographers, it was all very high caliber both technically and visually.    What I think I’m trying to say is that I left the exhibit wanting more, something more from my visit to the ROM.

Luckily I didn’t have to look far.  In the next room was Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana.

museum exhibit of asafo flags from Ghana, colourful flags of militia groups in yellows, reds and black. Many are hanging in display cases.

Colour, lots of colour.  And a subject that I knew nothing about, asafo flags.  I wasn’t even sure what part of Africa Ghana is in (It’s on the south coast of Western Africa between Togo and the Ivory Coast as it turns out.).

The flags are hand made with an assortment of different motifs.  The British Jack in the upper left corner is a very common feature.  That’s a clue.  Yes, Ghana was a British colony.   Reading the history of Ghana is like reading the colonial history of large parts of Africa.  The Portuguese built a fortress at Elmina in 1482.    Interest in the region was piqued by the presence of gold, hence the name Gold Coast.   By the early 17th century the first African state,  Akwamu, controlled an extensive part of the coast.  They were displaced by the Ashanti who were very involved in the slave trade, especially in trading slaves for weapons.   When European countries outlawed trading in slaves in the early 1800’s,  Ashanti power suffers.   Some tussles ensue, a few battles, some back and forth, and by 1902 what was Ashanti becomes is a British colony.    It remained a colony until 1957.

close up of a flag, hand made, British Jack in the top left corner, a man walks in front of a church in the center, a black bear in the top right.

I’m not going to pretend to know or understand African history.  I’m only trying to give some context to the flags.    First, jump back to my mention of Elmina and the Portuguese. When the Portuguese arrived in this area in the 15th century, it was the Fante (or Fanti) people that they encountered.  Both the Fante and the Ashanti belong to the Akan people.  The Fante prevented them from venturing inland and leased properties for Portuguese trading missions. But when the Portuguese objected to Fante rules and regulations the Fante expelled them.  Soon after, the Dutch arrived.  The Fante served as middlemen in the commerce between the interior and Dutch traders on the coast.

Around 1724 the Dutch either established or made important a number of militia groups of local Fante.  These are the Asafo companies.  Historically, Asafo companies were in charge of the safety and protection of the local community.   At the height of the slave trade they protected individuals and communities.   They exerted power, exercise political influence and maintain codes of conduct within Fante communities. Each company has a flag and that flag has many roles.   They represent proverbs and depict narratives of pride and wisdom.  They accompany oral history and provide a means to preserve customs and traditions.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. “Only a brave man goes under a large tree” because only large animals go under large trees. Made sometime between 1950 and 1957.
  2. bottom flag, artist unknown, Kromantse Workshop. “Only tie a bull to a large tree”. Both the animal and the tree are acknowledged to be strong and mighty.  Made around 1980.  It has a Ghanese flag in the top left corner.

 

two flags displayed on a black background, with three femail mannequins dressed in traditional Ghanese costume.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. A crocodile dominates and controls a pond of fish. Made around 1940.  The prey can not escape.
  2. bottom flag, by Kwesi Budu, Saltpond Workshop. The fish cann’t escape the net of the fishermen just like enemies will not be able to escape when confronted by the company.  Made around 1950.

two flags displayed on a black background, with two male mannequins dressed in military Ghanese costume.

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, chickens and roosters,

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, griffons

two mannequins in military uniforms as part of a museum exhibit at ROM

 

 

Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costumes,
ROM, 4th floor,
until March 2017.

 

 

 

Fairbank station is not really a station, at least not any more; it’s the access point to the York Beltline trail at Fairbank Street.   The York Beltline trail is the western portion of the beltline trail.  It is a few blocks north of Eglinton Avenue and it runs from Times Road (west of Marlee Ave) westward to the railway tracks that run parallel to Caledonia Road.   Up until the 1990s this was a spur rail line used to service industries in the area.  There are still some small industrial buildings close to the Beltline, including some at Fairbank Street which is where I found these:

below:  Three anser faces on the far wall and a whoisrandom James Dean up close with sunglasses.

the sides of a couple of buildings covered with street art including the head and shoulders of James Dean wearing sunglasses with a beachscene, a green animal head and three anser faces.

below: Green fur and sharp teeth, a creature by blackburn

On the side of a building, a large street art painting of the head of a green animal. Open mouth, big fangs. Small ears and eyes. Bear? or maybe large bobcat?

below: by braes, or braesoner

A street art by braes of a boy in a red and white baseball hat and red shirt. The bat signal is beamed onto the wall beside him, black bat symbol in a yellow oval. The boy has a backpack full of tools.

below: by mska (left side) and paula prezende (right side)

two women painted on a purple dumpster. The one on the left is by mska and the woman has a skull mask on. The other is by paula prezende and is a woman with long red hair but with a big hole in her chest.

below: by deadboy (note raccoon on mud flap)

on the back of a truck, two white skulls with wide open mouths in profile, a raccoon and all signed by deadboy.

below: by poser and ABM Crew

Poser bunny in blue on pink and black background, painted on the back of an old truck container. Weeds growing in front and a tree to the left.

below: by Nick Sweetman

What looks to be a multicoloured underside of a very large beetle or similar creature with tiny legs, segmented body and numerous antenae. Painted by Nick Sweetman.

very bright coloured geometric street art on a garage door

graffiti on the side of an old truck container on wheels that is parked where the weeds are growing up around it. There is a large rose painted in grey tones as well as a black and white piece by The Crew
A crocdile swimming in the water with a little orange birdie sitting on his head - a street art painting on the side of concrete block wall. The croc is swimming in the water, with his mouth open wide and showing his teeth

below: By brunosmoky

a street art painting of a makeshift boat with stove pipe smoke stack, painted to look like boat is made of boards haphazardly nailed together. On the the side of a building, but with weeds growing up in front of it.

 

a row of stickers all with faces on them on a vertical pole beside a garage door that has also been painted in many bright colours.

a stenciled sign that says Citied Feed Zombies

If you walk along Harbord Street, just east of Bathurst Street, you can’t miss the colourful paintings at the entrance to James Hales Lane.  Most of them were painted by street artists Shalak and Smoky.

large street art painting of a snail with a tiny house on the back of its shell. The piece is signed by Smoky

Looking down along a wall in an alley on which there is a large crocodile and a bear's head painted on the wall. Multicoloured. Bright colours.

Intricate street art painting of a crocodile or alligator on a wall in an alley. Alley animal.

Close up of some new growth, new leaves, on the stump of a small tree. The stump has been covered with spray paint, because it against a wall on which a street art painting was done

below: This bear is painted on the west side of Bampot Bohemian House of Tea & Board Games which explains the floating tea cup above his head.

The face of a bear, perhaps panda bear, but in purples and greens. It is in water up to its nose. A steaming tea cup floats above its head.

below: This peacock is on the other side of the tea house. Signed by MXP, 2004.

street art painting of a peacock. The feathers make a circle shape and are made of houses and trees.

below: This tiger is also on Harbord.  It faces the peacock.  Parts of the picture are washed out because of the angle of the afternoon sun on the day I saw this mural.

A shalak painting of a large tiger head with mouth open and teeth showing. Multicoloured, painted on a wall in an alley. The sun is shining directly on part of it so its a bit washed out in places.

James Hales Lane is short and it is a dead end.  There isn’t much more graffiti or street art in the lane.

A shite garage door in an alley, on the concrete block wall beside the garage door is a line drawing of a rose that is as high as the garage door.