The Streets Are Talking – Listen! A conversation with AJA Louden

For Freedom to Read Week, opens a new window, libraries often discuss and celebrate music, film and literature that has been censored and how it relates to intellectual freedom. This year, we decided to expand the scope to include visual artists and had a conversation with artist AJA Louden about his mural of Greta Thunberg painted on the YEG Free Wall (near the Alberta Legislature) in October 2019.

My conversation was enlightening as I discovered that artists who create this type of public art view it less as defacing their art and more as a conversation sparked by the community, important to the life of the piece (and the issues it discusses) itself. Most street art is temporary and that makes it a conversation for all that contribute, and in the case of AJA’s mural of Greta, meant it told more of a story about what Albertans are feeling, as the pro-climate/ pro-industry debate is a complicated and layered discussion in our province. 

For more info on AJA’s work, check out his website, opens a new window and for some EPL resources about street art, we recommend checking out this booklist, opens a new window

And lastly, remember that even more important than reading these books is noticing and learning to read the names you see written in the city around you every day. As AJA said, “The streets are talking - Listen!”

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