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Edmonton street artist creates mural of Greta Thunberg: ‘My hope is that it becomes a talking point’

A mural by Edmonton artist AJA Louden of climate activist Greta Thunberg at 105 Avenue & 97 Street.
A mural by Edmonton artist AJA Louden of climate activist Greta Thunberg at 105 Avenue & 97 Street. Global News

An local street artist hopes his mural of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg will leave an impression on Edmontonians and keep the conversation going.

AJA Louden painted the mural on Friday, at the same time Thunberg gave an impassioned speech at the Alberta legislature.

READ MORE: Greta Thunberg’s Alberta visit igniting further discussion on climate change

“I just feel like as an artist it’s my job to record the times we are in and kind of reflect them,” Louden said.

“I think as a public artist especially, that’s something that’s important that I do.”

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The piece was painted on a ‘free wall space’ at 105 Avenue and 97 Street, an ongoing street art installation which was first developed in 2002 as part of The Works Art & Design Festival.

READ MORE: The Works Art and Design kicks off Edmonton’s summer festival season

Louden said that he he believes the climate crisis is a complicated problem, but by painting a public figure that has become synonymous with the issue, he can keep people engaged.

“If I’d painted a climate researcher or maybe a more local activist… it wouldn’t have had that same impact,” Louden said.

“When I’m painting art like this in public, my hope is that it becomes a talking point.”

He said that he believes that Thunberg’s team has embraced her celebrity and used it as a way to ‘attract attention’ to the issue of climate change, and he hopes his piece will do the same, regardless of political beliefs.

“I think we can’t be so bitterly divided that we aren’t able to collaborate,” said Louden.

The piece took about 2.5 hours to complete.

A mural of Greta Thunberg in Edmonton created by AJA Lounden.
A mural of Greta Thunberg in Edmonton created by AJA Lounden. Julien Fournier / Global News
Edmonton-based street artist AJA Louden.
Edmonton-based street artist AJA Louden. Credit: Facebook, AJA Louden Studios
Greta Thunberg visit ignites passion in Albertans
Greta Thunberg visit ignites passion in Albertans