Ahead of the Toronto International Film Festival’s September 7 opening night, a massive new 130-foot mural mural animating King Street West has been installed across the street from the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Commissioned by Greenland Group Canada, the public installation by Canadian artist Zeesy Powers arrives on the future site of Greenland’s two-tower King Blue condominium complex, now under construction at the southeast corner of King Street and Blue Jays Way in downtown Toronto.
Created to animate the area from street level, the artwork celebrates the history of the Entertainment District. Visible to pedestrians and traffic, the mural depicts a nod to cinema with four-foot tall exploding popcorn kernels, alongside Roy Thompson Hall’s iconic organ and an array of Toronto’s most-loved and well-known landmarks, as well as the bents of the Gardiner Expressway.
According to a release accompanying the installation, “the concept for the commissioned artwork was based on Toronto’s ever-changing skyline, exploring the relationship between human and built form, and the cultural influences that have shaped King West.”
Located on the site of Toronto’s former Westinghouse building — whose facade will be restored at the King Blue condominium’s street level — the mural was commissioned to bring life to the site during King Blue’s construction. The installation is slated to remain on site until the development is completed, with construction tentatively set to be wrapped up in 2019. Developed by the Greenland Group, the King Blue project is the Shanghai-based company’s first Canadian venture.
Zeesy Powers is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice explores and questions the impact of social and technological structures on individual experience. For over a decade, she has performed and exhibited internationally. Powers has been artist-in-residence at CCA Kitakyushu (Japan), Palomar5 (Berlin), the Banff New Media Institute, Studio XX (Montreal) and the Toronto Public Library. Recently, she was the 2017 National Artist-in-Residence at the Toronto Animated Image Society, for which she produced This Could be You, an interactive piece exploring practices of confinement in VR.