Photo Credit: Fanny Seligmann
A new mural of approximately 80m2 depicting Ihsane Jarfi’s portrait has been painted in the Riches Claire area - rue Saint Christophe 36. The permanent artwork is part of Ihsane Jarfi Day (17 May) and Belgian Pride Festival. The mural has been commissioned by the Rainbow House of Brussels, and is supported by the City of Brussels and will be incorporated as part of the collection of artwork featured in the Street Art Brussels tour.
With a serene expression and “floating” above those who pass by, Ihsane Jarfi is painted in a graphic style which flirts with psychedelia. Fresh, spring colours on a pink background is reminiscent of the warm, colourful streets of Marrakech. The work is a tribute to Ihsane Jarfi who was murdered as a result of a homophobic crime in 2012, in Liège Belgium. Back then, the case had attracted national awareness and widespread reaction as a result of the barbaric nature of the crime. Ihsane’s father, Hassan Jarfi, wrote a book – “Le Couloir du Deuil” - The Mourning Hall - a book that tells the story of a father torn between his Muslim faith and the love for his son. The Rainbow House of Bruxelles has collaborated with Anthea Missy - a visual artist based in Brussels - to create the tribute in order to remind people of that symbolic case in the history of tolerance and acceptance of people who are of a sexual orientation that challenges norms and society.
The campaign is multi-pronged and the portrait has been printed on flyers, posters and also shared on social media and endorsed by ambassadors. The mural is a permanent tribute to the memory of Ihsane Jarfi and will be officially acknowledged on Ihsane Jarfi Day. A memorial walk will start at 17h00 pm at Place de la Monnaie in Brussels and will gather supporters in front of the mural at 18h30 for its official inauguration, on Thursday 17 May 2018.
“It was a challenge but also an absolute honour to create this tribute to Ihsane Jarfi. I wanted to convey joy in the mural so as to highlight the hope that drives all human beings and the freedom to express themselves with their own authenticity and to feel accepted and loved for it. The pure shape and colour palette expresses that delicacy and innocence,” says Anthea Missy.
The artist, who has painted murals in locations across the four corners of the globe, was able to transform and uplift the grey wall in less than seven days. The mural will also be commemorated with a plaque attributing Anthea Missy as the artist. The artwork has already received high praise from the neighbourhood. “The mural will provide an opportunity to raise awareness for LGTBQ challenges when people ask who the person at the centre of the portrait is. Ihsane Jarfi is not a pop star but a real and authentic symbol for the LGBTQ community. Street art is also a tool to share messages in an accessible and unexpected manner,” concluded Anthea.