DENVER — 4,881 miles is a long way to go to graffiti a wall.
“This is not just regular graffiti that you can find on the corner of the street,” said Martin Lafitte through a thick French accent.
Lafitte is the Executive director of Alliance Française, a French cultural center serving Denver Francophiles for over one hundred twenty years. He figured it’s time to give the building at the corner of Galapago Street and 6th Avenue a little face lift.
“The idea really was to create some kind of landmark for our cultural center to be more visible in the neighborhood.”
Alliance Française teamed up with Denver Arts and Venues, the City of Paris, and several Parisian foundations to commission a mural by French artist Da Cruz.
“We saw that there’s a bridge between the street art scenes here in Denver and the one in Paris,” Lafitte said.
Da Cruz’ art is influenced from African, South American, and French culture, and often features mask imagery.
“It’s a mix of different cultures,” Da Cruz said. “For me, that’s the good globalization. The mix of the cultures.”
The mural in the Santa Fe Art District features his signature mask. It also has references to France, the United States and, of course, the Colorado “C.”
“Whatever we can show to try to materialize this bridge between the French Culture, the local culture, and what we want to embrace," Laffite said, explaining his hopes for the mural. "Cultural exchange and understanding, basically. To be able to create links between Denver and France in any kind of way is really what drives us.”
Da Cruz will continue his residency in Denver through the end of the week. He’ll host a master class at Alliance Française after his mural is complete Wednesday night. He'll work with students from West High School on Thursday, and paint a mural on the Cherry Creek bike path near Confluence Park with Denver artist Jason Garcia on Friday.
If you see him and his Voodoo Donuts give him a welcoming, “Bonjour!”
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