'Ruins to Riches'
La Belle De Mai,
Supported by Atelier Juxtapoz, Hiphop Society, East Street Arts and Electron Libre during a 3 week residency at Le Couvant.
Photo Bokehgo, film TBA
The giant corner mural tells the story of Marseille, in particular the area of La Belle De Mai, painted on the old tobacco factory that was once an economic pillar supporting the local community, it is now a thriving creative hub named La Belle Friche, complete with art studios, skate park, theatre etc.
The mural to the right depicts an old worker wearing a trademark 'Belle de Mai' blue over coat. She walks amongst the ruins of the old Greek empire that founded the city, the financial divide of Marseille weighs on her hunched shoulders.
To the left the future of Marseille with its rich cultural diversity, outstanding natural beauty, ancient history and a younger generation absorbed by knowledge and creativity.... breaking free from the corruption and un employment that has made Marseille the most poverty stricken city in France.
Atelier Juxtapoz converted a nun's convent into 80 + artist studios and residency living quarters which would become our home for the three weeks we stayed in Marseille.
The previous residents lived a life of silent order within the convent walls, the only time they left the confines would be their last. As city buildings grew in hight and modern life began to creep its way in, the nuns moved from the area of Belle de Mai to seek the solitude of rural life.
Luckily this gem of a place with its acres of walled gardens has been given to the artists of Atelier for the next 3 years, who have consequently thrown open their doors to the local community so that they can enjoy the green space which is a rarity in this area. Atelier and its residents run workshops for young people, are cultivating an allotment with local asylum seekers and people struggling with mental health issues as well as bringing a whole host of international artists over to create site specific art instillations and murals. It truly is a beautiful band aid bringing people together and offering hope to a largely forgotten community.