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Photo of Fathima Mohiuddin working on her mural
Fathima Mohiuddin. Photo by Jay Potter

The Magic and Tragedy of Street Art

Alumna Fathima Mohiuddin takes her art to where the people are

Creating fleeting street art with spray cans, churning out a piece that can take a few hours to a few days to paint on a ladder under the scorching sun – that’s the kind of work that draws Fathima Mohiuddin (BA 2006 UTSC) to decorating public spaces around the world, from London and Amman to Abu Dhabi.

Mohiuddin began thinking about art as something communal at the age of 18, when she worked on a mural called “Flight” while majoring in UTSC’s studio art program. The piece – which has been displayed on the side of a car wash in Scarborough for more than a decade now – shows the metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly, mirroring the journey of many of the refugees in the area.

The image of an elephant and a bird featured above – painted in Ithaca, New York – represents two people searching for love again, but “the heart isn’t quite there yet,” says Mohiuddin. Like much of her work this year, the story is about moving beyond suffering, and finding your heart again.

Mohiuddin returned to her hometown of Dubai in 2009, and in 2011 she launched her own company, the Domino, to promote local artists and develop an accessible arts scene. “I’m not a fan of galleries, of these boxes that contain art and make it exclusive,” she says. “I love the magic and tragedy of art on the street.”

Check out more of Mohiuddan’s images

Mohiuddan was one of three artists profiled as part of the Subbak street art festival in London

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